Rukiga District Commercial Officer on the spot over misappropriation of PDM funds

By APN Editorial

Rukiga District in southwestern Uganda is currently grappling with a scandal involving its District Commercial Officer (DCO), Mr. Agaba Nelson, who is facing allegations of financial mismanagement and misconduct.

The controversy centers around the misappropriation of funds designated for Parish Development Model (PDM) initiatives, totaling over 15 million Ugandan shillings. These funds were intended for general meetings and training sessions for more than 30 PDM SACCO beneficiaries in the Rukiga District. However, Mr. Agaba Nelson, in collaboration with his supervisors, diverted the funds for undisclosed purposes, leaving the intended beneficiaries in disarray.

Nelson at a function in 2023.

The accusations further extend to Mr. Nelson’s tenure at COMEI, a civil society organization (CSO) based in Bukinda and supported by USAID. Despite leaving his position, Mr. Nelson has refused to hand over crucial office and financial reports, hindering the organization’s operations and accountabilities.

Mr. Nelson’s appointment as District Commercial Officer has raised questions about his qualifications and the transparency of the selection process. Allegations suggest that his connection with the current LCV Chairperson, Mr. Mbabazi Robert, played a role in securing his position. Serving as Robert’s Chief Campaign Agent during the 2021 General Elections, Mr. Nelson is accused of orchestrating a rigged electoral process to bring the chairperson to power and continuing to misuse his influence.

Local stakeholders and community members are expressing outrage over these revelations, emphasizing the need for a thorough investigation into the allegations and demanding accountability measures to ensure the proper use of public and donor funds within Rukiga District.

While Mr. Agaba Nelson and Rukiga District authorities have not yet issued an official statement in response to the allegations, the mounting public pressure suggests that a reckoning may be imminent. This could potentially lead to disciplinary actions and reforms within the district’s governance structures.

As the controversy unfolds, stakeholders anxiously await answers and decisive actions to restore trust and integrity in Rukiga District’s administration, ensuring that public resources are utilized for their intended purposes and truly benefit the communities they are meant to serve.

The man in question is also under fire for holding two positions whereby he is also working at COMEI a Non-governmental organization in the Bukinda sub-county where he has also reportedly failed to account for shillings 56 million.