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How Peace Rugambwa Fleeced over 400,000 Locals in Rukungiri Anti-poverty Group Fraud

Boona Bageigahare Nyakundiere group founder Peace Rugambwa speaks during a meeting at Heritage Country club in Rukungiri Town (Photo: Perez Rumanzi)

A storm is brewing in Rukungiri District, western Uganda after an NRM mobilizer diddled over 480,000 residents promising them financial support from President Museveni.

The locals in the districts of Rukungiri, Ntungamo, Kanungu, Kisoro, Rubanda, Kabale, and Rukiga were mobilised into groups by a non-government organisation (NGO), “Boona Bagaigahare Nyekundeire“, headed by a one Peace Rugambwa, who obtained Shs 12,000 from each person as “registration fees” and Shs20,000 to register with the Sacco in order to benefit from the organisation which she said the President would fund.

This money was picked from the elderly, underprivileged, widows and youth in the several sub-counties including Bwambara and Bugangari, Rukungiri district.

Meanwhile, we’ve learnt that after defrauding locals, representatives from all the Sacco members in the seven districts, the Sacco leadership and that of the NGO have since cut off ties with the locals who want their money refunded and the matter investigated but Rugambwa said the money was used as “renictration” and “membership” fee.

“It’s sad that despite raising our issue of being cheated by Rugambwa, the authorities have never taken action,” said Didas Muhumuza, 71, a resident of Bwambara.

However, some residents of Nyakanengo where Rugambwa picked over Shs 20m, said they would deal with her if she dares to visit their area.

“Peace Rugambwa should not dare stepping in this area under the guise of mobilization unless she returns our money. The sick and old are grieving,” said Nickson Turyahumura, 67, a resident of the area.

Mr Michael Kwarikunda Mbareeba, from Rukiga District, called on the government to investigate the scam and have culprits prosecuted.

“The locals were cheated in broad daylight and we cannot allow this to pass. If the locals cannot get what was promised to them, there must be effective communication so that they are brought on board. Since authorities were also involved, let them have this matter investigated,” Mr Mbareeba said.

“We trusted Ms Rugambwa since she had campaigned for President Museveni in the 2016 polls. Everyone is wondering what happened. The people who registered in Ntungamo are more than 100,000,” Mr Mohamed Rwomushana, from Kayonza Sub-county said.

In an exclusive video seen by this website, as a way of cleaning her name, Rugambwa however accuses the State House Personnel Afande Night Kwikiriza, for sabotaging the project.

“The money residents were paying was only for membership. President Museveni ordered for funding of our activities, but key State House people blocked it. I don’t know the intention, but even with the strong commitment of the President, they have refused to give us money,” Ms Rugambwa said.

Scandalous Rugambwa & How State House Bursted into her fraud operations.

In 2018, former State House comptroller, Lucy Nakyobe Mbonye commenced investigations into the operations of Boona Bageigahare Nyekundiire group. The group was founded by Peace Rugambwa.

An inquiry by the Office of the President said that an anti-poverty group operating in Rukungiri District is operating as a non-governmental organization and should not benefit from any form of government funding.

Boona Bagaigahare Nyekundire Group which was a subject of investigation by State House over alleged fraud after the group leader, Ms Peace Rugambwa, claimed to have spent about 1.9 billion shillings of her own money to mobilise NRM supporters in Rukungiri on behalf of the directive of President Museveni to fight poverty, which she wants him to refund.

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However, after over a month of investigation, a five-member State House probe team led by Mr Francis Batinti on Wednesday presented the findings of the report, indicating that the group does not operate as a mobilization outfit but rather as an NGO since members pay a membership fee of 12,000 shillings.

The report findings also indicated that the group has a membership of 17,198 members and 2,442 of these are elderly persons over 70 years. It also revealed that the unions and mattresses which the group leaders claimed to have supplied to all members were not actually supplied. For instance, only 42 group members received mattresses and others 57 had been bought, pending distribution. For the onions, the report revealed that they had been distributed in 2016 when residents had not registered under this group..roup..

Rugambwa was also being accused of ferrying over 282 voters from Rukungiri to Rwakitura in Kiruhura district on September 23rd, 2018 purportedly to meet President, Yoweri Museveni without prior notification. The voters were stranded for two days after being blocked by security on grounds that the president wasn’t aware of their visit.

She, however, escaped from Rwakitura before the group saw the President, angering the entourage. Many were stranded due to lack of transport.

The voters were saved by Hon. Jim Muhwezi who mobilised a bus that picked the people from Rwakitura and returned them to Rukungiri.

The then State House comptroller, said the president was enraged by Rugambwa’s decision to ferry voters to his home without his knowledge.

She also said the president isn’t happy with Rugambwa’s tactics of extorting money from residents with promises of giving them onion seeds and mattresses on behalf of government. According to Nakyobye, Rugambwa convinced her victims to pay Shillings 12,000 each and wait for the items from government through her.

Nakyobe also said that Rugambwa has been assuring residents that the president owes her Shillings 1.9 billion, which she used to distribute onion seeds and mattresses to elderly people in the district before the May 31st 2018 Rukungiri District Woman MP by-election. But Nakyobye said the president wasnt aware of the said money.

Catherine Tumusiime and Geoffrey Tindarwesire, some of the affected residents, say Rugambwa had already collected Shillings 480 million, adding that they have waited for the promised items in vain. Nakyoobe said that the President had tasked her to come up with a report before November 2018.

It’s said that from that background, president Museveni might have thought twice and blocked the release of all that amount to a non trustworthy Rugambwa.

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Hon. Jim Muhwezi Speaks

“It’s true, people have been telling me about this issue of being defrauded by Rugambwa. I didn’t know her until the president introducer her to us in when we were in Nyakagyeme,” said Muhwezi.

“However, I didn’t hear the President instructing her to pick Shs 12,000 from the elderly for the onion project. I was hoping this matter would be resolved if we met the President because the disadvantaged who lost their money want their issue resolved,” emphasised Muhwezi.

He said taking people’s money under the guise of membership fee was unfair.

“That’s not NRM’s modus operandi. Because our job is to help the vulnerable not to take money from them. Even membership cards are free of charge,” said Muhwezi, the District NRM chairman.

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