Farmers’ union in trouble over gross mismanagement

NYAGATARE – A report by auditors from the Rwanda Cooperative Agency (RCA) has revealed that over Rwf 9.5 million cannot be accounted for in UDAMACO, a farmers’ cooperative union operating in the districts of Kayonza, Gatsibo and Nyagatare.
IN CHARGE: Damien Mugabo
IN CHARGE: Damien Mugabo

NYAGATARE – A report by auditors from the Rwanda Cooperative Agency (RCA) has revealed that over Rwf 9.5 million cannot be accounted for in UDAMACO, a farmers’ cooperative union operating in the districts of Kayonza, Gatsibo and Nyagatare.

Releasing the report on Tuesday at EPR Nyagatare, the auditors told farmers and participants, who included RCA Director General, Damien Mugabo, revealed that the amount mentioned was only unaccounted for within a period of one year.

The money was part of a loan of Rwf300 million sourced from Rwanda Development Bank.

Auditors could not manage to audit the previous years since the union lacks records for 2006-07 expenditures.

‘According to our audit, this money was unaccounted for between 2008 and 2009. We could not find records for the previous years,’ the auditors said.

The report also accuses William Rwabisharaza, who was the union’s manager before 2009, of having swindled Rwf 6.7 million. He is also accused of propagating nepotism in the distribution of cows to farmers.

‘The audit found out that Rwabisharaza used his powers as a manager to buy cows for his relatives who were non cooperative members,’ the auditors said.

The report also accuses the union leaders of diverting funds during the purchase of exotic cows. 

The director general of RCA, requested the Police to ensure that union leaders who were implicated are held accountable.

Meanwhile, the meeting agreed to dissolve the union at the request of members. The farmers argued that the union should be split into small farmers’ unions comprising of the primary cooperatives so as to ease management.

‘This is absurd, that we continue to lose our shares in the cooperative. The Union should be decentralized to district levels,’ one of the farmers said.

Nyagatare District Mayor, Fred Atuhe Sabiti, asked farmers to elect heads of primary cooperatives to represent them at the district’s union level.

UDAMACO was formed in 2006 by farmers in the former Umutara province. Thereafter the cooperative sourced an initial loan of Rwf692 million from the Rwanda Development Bank (BRD) to help acquire exotic cows for the purposes of increasing its members stocks. It had about 26 primary cooperatives.

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