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BIG STORY: UNAA top Leadership pinned over shs sh550m Museveni cash

The Ugandan North American Association (UNAA) Executive has been put to the sword, over alleged mishandling of public funds, including $150,000 (Shs550M) donated to the Organization by H.E. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni in 2022.

UNAA PResident Ms Henrietta Ssenabulya Wamala (Photo/via UNAA)

The Ugandan North American Association (UNAA) Executive has been put to the sword, over alleged mishandling of public funds, including $150,000 (Shs550M) donated to the Organization by H.E. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni in 2022.

A Whistleblower who preferred anonymity to this report told DailyExpress how UNAA Executive allegedly received $150,000 from His Excellency President Museveni with the objective of strengthening the Ugandan community in North America, but the money was swindled for individual gains.

“The funds were unfortunately swindled and has apparently become a campaign matter ahead of the UNAA elections,” said the Whistleblower.

Information this publication couldn’t verify indicated that the alleged funds were dispatched by Mr Museveni, through his Senior Cabinet Minister and his Senior Advisor on Political Affairs, but unfortunately, the executive led by President Henrietta Wamala misappropriated the money during the San Francisco Convention in September 2022.

“The money was swindled by the current leadership of President Henrietta Wamala, having reduced it to partying, merrymaking heavily influenced by the greedy Senior Cabinet Minister and dubious Senior Presidential Political Advisor, hence becoming part of the misappropriated taxpayers’ money,” the Whistleblower fumed.

This publication has further learnt that UNAA, receives $100,000 (Shs353m) annually from the government, out of which $50,000 (Shs183m) is allocated as community development funds for disbursement to members, and $50,000 as contribution to organizing activities.

Apparently, some members, say there is no proof corresponding to deposits of funds in any of UNAA’s bank accounts or financial systems.

“Fraudulent activities have infiltrated UNAA to the extent that some members have abandoned the organization, whoever takes over leadership of UNAA wants to steal and go. There is a lot of mismanagement not on finances but everything,” Charles Muvawala, a member of UNAA based in Boston said.

Charles Bukenya Muvawala (Renowned Entertainer & Contestant). Courtesy photo.

Further revelations indicate that financial misappropriation, dishonesty and lack of transparency have marred Uganda’s oldest North American Association. It’s no stranger to controversy and infighting, emanating from the government’s $100,000 annual contribution toward the Association, being reduced to days of extravaganza, exaggerated travel and indulgences from the greedy Senior Cabinet Minister and dubious Senior Presidential Political Advisor, who have systematically weighed in, influenced and destroyed acquittance, friendship and unity among Ugandans in North America.

Back in February, the greedy Senior Cabinet Minister and dubious Senior Presidential Political Advisor, connived with imposters from UNAA, met H.E. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, where it’s said they conned His Excellency the President of another $150,000, in the pretext of creating NRM Chapters in North America, which would counter the opposition, yet these were in existence with its known leaders.

“Today, UNAA is like a den of thieves, backed by a greedy Cabinet Minister and a dubious SPA/Political Affairs run by an errant Association President, Henrietta Wamala, her Executive Secretary Lambert Etibot, and fraudsters in Timothy Nyonjo and Ronnie Lwanga, who are swindling and misappropriating the funds from H.E. President Museveni & government, pretending to mobilise and strengthen the Ugandan community in North America,” stated the Whistleblower.

More details emerge

Relatedly, there are reports that indicate that UNAA’s top leadership led by Wamala is seeking another bunch of $300,000 to organize a campaign for elections, and $100,000 for the formation & strengthening of the NRM community in North America.

With that said the ongoing fraudulent actions of the greedy Senior Cabinet Minister and dubious Senior Presidential Political Advisor, which are likely to extend to other Diaspora communities, coupled with the errant UNAA President and her incompetent team, would lead to a loss of close to $550,000 of taxpayers’ money.

According to the community members, the year 2020, which they described as the first full year of the incompetent Henrietta Wamala’s operation, is the only time the administration filed taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

“Last year during the UNAA annual convention, the current Treasurer failed to give a financial report to the members as required by the Organization ‘s constitution, that not being enough when a Whistleblower raised concerns about the mismanagement of UNAA funds and the corresponding IRS tax filings and the reports uploaded onto the UNAA website as a move to cover up,” Steven Osito, a Ugandan based in California said.

Shs1bn COVID-19 funds

The members also questioned the management of funds during the 2020 convention, which was slated to take place in San Francisco, but was cancelled due to COVID-19 and opted for a virtual one via Zoom.

The Whistleblower says in the post-event report allegedly prepared by the UNAA Executive Secretary, Lambert Etibot, the copies of financial returns submitted are not signed by any official, which members said raises suspicion.  It is alleged that the UNAA administration used close to $275,237 (sh1b) on a Zoom Convention.

“We have demanded accountability and transparency for over a year now but they failed to give us answers. Their budget for 2020 COVID Virtual conversation was a sham, they are so fraudulent that they cannot even account for how much they used as per their statements,” state the Whistleblower.

The Organization has more than 120,000 community individuals with an annual budget of $200,000 to $400,000.

Lambert Etibot (UNAA Secretary General)

According to communication from UNAA Board of Trustees, signed by, its Chairperson, Ronald Kabaale, has suspended operations of the Electoral Commission until financial misappropriation and EC leadership is resolved.

“The financial reports are public documents, which should be made public for everyone to access. Community members have decided to speak up, and demand for transparency and accountability,” the Whistleblower noted.

UNAA Responds

When contacted over the allegations, UNAA president Henrietta Nairuba Wamala denied knowledge of the alleged funds and said the only money the association receives on an annual basis, is $100,000 (about sh365.9) which is dispatched through Uganda’s embassy in Washington DC, US.

“Whoever says $150,000 was brought to UNAA should bring evidence that it was dispatched to UNAA. Go and ask State House; we never received that money. The President has never sent money to UNAA to mobilise people here, he has never done that,” Wamala told this publication.

UNAA President Ms Henrietta Ssenabulya Wamala

She further noted that for the years she has served as president UNAA, all donations are listed in the organisation’s financials, adding that UNAA has not had $150,000 in donations in a single year.

“How could one have used and misappropriated $150,000 and this organisation stays afloat? Does that make sense to you, as a journalist, and hopefully, you can do the maths,” she said. 

The Head Legal Department at UNAA, Mr Deo Kalikumutima also dismissed the reports and demanded that the whistleblower tables evidence to that effect.

“Unless someone comes up with evidence that Government gave UNAA that money unless evidence is furnished, to the best of my knowledge, that $150,000 has not been disbursed, you can go and ask the ambassador.”

Wamala also denied the accusations saying her administration has never misappropriated any funds.

She said: “Our financials are posted on the UNAA website since I took office and as a non-profit organisation, we are subject to following both state and federal financial rules as mandated for non-profit organisations here in the US and are open to any federal audit as well.

What Next?

At the moment, the members of the oldest Ugandan Association in the United States, want the President and Anti-Corruption Agencies & International Regulation Service, to immediately iron out the corrupt tendencies that have been ensured within UNAA.

For transparency and proper accountability, community members are demanding for a forensic audit into UNAA accounts, over allegations of financial mishandling for all taxpayers’ monies received and spent.

“It’s battering that the once big Uganda North American Association, has been left in tatters, and with such fraudulent scenarios, UNAA may not thrive,” reckoned the Whistleblower.

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