The leadership of the UPDF’s savings cooperative, Wazalendo Sacco has defended a move that will see creation of a special reserve fund on dormant accounts of members who have either abandoned the force or are dead.

Reported have it that, the proposal to transfer 6.1 billion Ugandan shillings accumulated because of dead soldiers together with those that had deserted the force to a pool account.

 During the Sacco’s just concluded Annual General Meeting held at the Uganda Military Engineering College in Lugazi last month suggestions of giving out the money to beneficiaries had kicked off storm between junior and senior commanders.

During today’s press address, Col Joseph Fred Onata, the Wazalendo Sacco Chief Executive Officer said the move to create a special reserve fund was informed by the need to cut costs of running separate accounts which are dormant.

“for 15 years we have been holding these monies in the individual member’s accounts which are classified as dormant, but these inactive accounts are expensive in terms of interests paid. They also pose a risk yet the board of directors cannot decide on their own on what to do with those funds,”Onata explained.

The members of the 15th AGM were therefore not surprised by the proposal since it had already been discussed.

COL Onata says that the board of directors and management required from the AGM was the resolution and guidance on how to manage the fund once a special reserve fund is created in accordance with the law.

Col Onata, it was agreed that the board of directors shall maintain a record of all the members whose funds are transferred to the special reserve fund and that the same will always be available whenever members resurface to claim them.

The Wazalendo Sacco leadership however dismissed as untrue reports that all soldiers are obliged to contribute 10% of their monthly salary to the Sacco in addition to shares each costing shillings 15,000.

On reports of overstaying of the Wazalendo Sacco’s 10 per cent of their monthly salary to the Sacco, Onata clarified they are in office legally awaiting the next Annual General Meeting to hold elections.

He said the AGM brings more than 400 delegates and are supposed to hold election between March 25 and 26 2020 but were affected by the Covid lockdown which was levied on March 18.

He added that they sought guidance from the registrar of cooperatives who granted an extension of term of office for the current 10 per cent of their monthly salary to the Sacco until it is feasible to hold elections.

Col Onata said they hope by early next year, Covid restrictions of meetings will have been relaxed for the AGM and subsequent elections to be held.

The Wazalendo Sacco is the biggest savings and cooperative society in the country and the sixth biggest in Africa, with over 80,000 members, 213 billion Ugandan shillings share capital, 180.5 billion Ugandan shillings in savings and 388 billion Ugandan shillings loaned out to members.

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