KAMPALA, UGANDA: As the storm seems to calm on the Karamoja Iron Sheets saga that involved the Office of the Prime Minister, Parliament has yet again unearthed another scandal where Shs9.6 billion was spent on training youths how to drink coffee in Uganda.
The development revealed on Thursday afternoon has left legislators and Ugandans in utter shock.
According to a report by the Auditor General, the shs9.6 billion reportedly spent on training youths how to drink coffee was a total steal after discovering that some of the coffee shops established in Gulu, Lira, and Mbale during the campaign are actually non-existent.
The contract to train youths on how to drink coffee was awarded to Inspire Africa (U) Limited where; Shs 3.831Bn was to train farmers on the production of coffee, Shs 1.906Bn train youths on how to drink coffee.
Additionally, the training in financial literacy and business management skills cost the OPM sh2.652Bn while the project administration cost Shs1.271Bn, thus bringing the total to Shs9.662Bn.
The activities were to cost Shs9.6 billion to carry out the production of coffee (training of farmers at Shs3.8 billion, consumption of coffee at Shs1.9 billion, capacity building at Shs2.6 billion and project administration at Shs1.2 billion.
Subsequently, M/s Inspire Africa was paid Shs1.9 billion to set up coffee shops and attendant infrastructure in Arua, Mbale, Lira, Gulu and Tororo.
The AG report, however, shows that except for Gulu, the coffee shops were either non-existent in some places or non-operational in areas where they were supposed to be placed.
For instance in Arua, the report says the facility was not operational. The report cites the Covid-19 lockdown as the reason for the facility’s non-operationality. The same applies to Mbale. The report cites the long period of the Covid-19 lockdown. In Lira, the refurbishment of the coffee shop did not commence.
This report prompted Members of Parliament to task OPM officials to explain how the said money was spent.
Robert Limlim, the Director of, the Development Response to Displacement Impacts Project (DRDIP) at OPM defended the money (Shs 9.6 Billion) saying it was spent on training youth on how to drink coffee, and that it was geared towards bringing the youth into the coffee economy.
He also said the money was also spent on the purchase of coffee equipment, but the Auditor General in his report questioned the existence of the coffee equipment in question.
“The young people in Uganda need to participate in the coffee economy and one of the ways the young people told us, especially those in the city they would like to sell coffee and other merchandise but coffee had to be one of the items we promote. So, we needed to have partners that are able and working in the coffee industry to do this,” Limlim said.
The Auditor General says failure to set up and operationalise the coffee shops denies the beneficiary communities services and may curtail the achievement of the project objectives of providing effective income support and building the resilience of poor and vulnerable households.
It should be noted that Inspire Africa owned and founded by Nelson Tugume is one of the companies set to eat big from the Shs37bn Parliament allocated to President Museveni’s son-in-law, Odrek Rwabwogo for a project aimed at promoting coffee value addition.
The money was allocated to the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development headed by Rwabwogo.
It is understood that the coffee value addition agenda was fronted by Tugume and bought by State House officials.
There are concerns from coffee stakeholders why only one company is literally benefiting from Government funding. This website understands that a number of local companies adding value to coffee were ‘used’ to secure the Shs37bn coffee value addition deal but they have since been sidelined in subsequent discussions.
Stakeholders are also concerned about why the money in question wasn’t allocated to a relevant agency like the Coffee Development Authority (UCDA).