Kampala—2, August 2021: On July 11, 2021 while on a Joint leadership zoom call with other leaders of Uganda North America Association (UNAA), it was announced by the UNAA President and CEO Henrietta Nairuba Wamala that she had learnt from the Accountant at the Embassy of Uganda in Washington DC that the FY 2020 Community Development Funds ($50,000) had been returned to Kampala, UNAA Vice President, Lydia Natoolo said in her letter dated 27, July 2021.
She added: “When I contacted HE Amb. Mull Katende to establish exactly what happened, and why the funds would have been returned to Kampala, when he had personally assured me (just days before the June 30, 2021 deadline) that those funds will remain at the embassy, he promised to investigate the matter and update me.”
Two days letter, Uganda Embassy in Washington DC, USA issued a “strong statement”. The statement warns UNAA to stop dragging her in their internal wrangles, among others.
Read full statement below:
The Embassy has received an Election Campaign Flyer issued on July 27th 2021 by the Vice President of UNAA and other three (Executive) members. Unfortunately, the content of the flyer and subsequent posts circulating on social media misrepresent the circumstances under which Uganda Government grant to UNAA‘s Community Development Fund, for Financial Year 2020/2021 and amounting to US$50,000, was returned to Kampala.
Moreover, there is also misleading information often peddled in social media and elsewhere about the Uganda government grant to UNAA. This is to inform the UNAA and Ugandan Community in North America and to give facts regarding the Uganda government grant to UNAA, including circumstances relating to the Community Development Funds for Financial Year 2020/2021, as follows:
1 The GOU Grant to UNAA dates back to 2004, when the UNAA leadership at the time approached H.E President Yoweri Museveni during the 17th UNAA Convention in Seattle, Washington State and requested for financial assistance to help them organize conventions and mobilize the diaspora community for the latter‘s good. The request was granted and from 2007 to 2014 GOU allocated and transferred to UNAA an annual Grant of USD 20,000. During a visit to Dallas, Texas, in 2014 (immediately after the 27th UNAA Convention in San Diego), HE President Museveni was again requested by UNAA leadership and local diaspora leaders to increase the UNAA grant and to support local organizations. This request too was granted and from 2015 to date the annual grant increased to US$ 100,000, broken down as USD 50,000 for the annual UNAA conventions and USD 50,000 annually for local organizations under the UNAA Community Development Fund.
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2 The grant funds are disbursed through the Embassy of Uganda in Washington D.C. In the recently concluded FY 2020/2021 the Embassy, on 30th October 2020, remitted USD 50,000 to the UNAA Executive for the 33rd UNAA (virtual) Convention. The funds were acknowledged by the UNAA President through a letter dated November 5“, 2020. However, disbursement of the Community Development Funds worth USD 50,000 (fifty thousand dollars only), part of the annual grant to UNAA for Financial Year 2020/2021, awaited finalization of revised guidelines by UNAA executive.
3 According to the current UNAA Guidelines, the Community Development Funds are to be remitted when the Embassy receives the list of eligible UNAA Chapters or local organizations from the UNAA Executive, indicating their addresses, bank account details, amounts to be received and contact persons. The decision as to who receives and how much (within the threshold of USD50, 000) is made by UNAA executive in accordance with the Association‘s internal mechanisms.
4 On October 8th, 2020, the Embassy wrote to the UNAA President, requesting for the list and details of eligible UNAA Chapters or local organizations so that the Embassy could transfer the remaining grant funds to the beneficiaries accordingly. Several telephone reminders were also made to the UNAA Executive. However, the Embassy did not receive the afore-mentioned list and required additional information by the end of the FY 2020/2021 on June 30th, 2021. Even within an additional discretionary two weeks of July 2021, exceptionally granted at the request of the UNAA Vice President, the list and required information were not received.
5 Subsequently, in compliance with the Uganda Public Finance Management Act 2015, Section 17 (2) regarding expiry of appropriations by Parliament, the Embassy returned the said unutilized funds to the Consolidated Fund in Kampala as required by law.
In light of the above, the Embassy wishes to set the record straight and calls upon the UNAA leadership to desist from dragging the name of the Embassy into UNAA’s internal wrangles. The Embassy calls upon UNAA to comply with its own guidelines regarding disbursement of the Community Development Funds and to always submit the required list in a timely manner to avoid the funds being returned to the Consolidated Fund. The Embassy also calls upon Ugandans to unite and work together for their wellbeing, advancement, prosperity and development.
The Embassy further wishes to assure all Ugandans that the Uganda Government is committed to working with the Ugandan Diaspora for their wellbeing and for the socio-economic development of our country.