Friday, June 14News That Matters

UPE school on sale over Shs65m debt.

There is panic among parents and leaders after Wobulenzi Public Primary School in Luwero district was put on sale over failure to repay a loan.
In 2019, Richard Mukasa former headteacher with the approval of the office of Luwero Chief Administrative Officer acquired a loan of 100 million Shillings from Equity Bank, Luwero branch.
Mukasa mortgaged the land title of the government school to acquire the loan to buy a plot and construct staff houses. The school has 2, 300 pupils under Universal Primary Education and it has the biggest population of learners in the district.
Since then the loan repayment period has elapsed and the school administration failed to clear 65 million shillings of the debt.
As a result, Equity Bank this week put an announcement on the school gate that the school is now a bank property after issuing a demand notice of 65 million shillings.
Micheal Kintu the headteacher of the school says that the loan repayment was disrupted by COVID-19 and complaints of irregularities by the former administration in the application as well as utilisation of the loan
Kintu says they have petitioned the Resident District Commissioner and Chief Administrator Officer to intervene in the matter to save the school from being taken over by the bank.
Moses Ssebalamu the LCIII Chairperson of Wobulenzi town council says that the former headteacher and members of the School Management Committee fraudulently acquired the loan. He explains that the loan was acquired in February 2019 but the meeting that approved the loan convened in October.
Ssebalamu adds that the loan was supposed to be approved by the minister but instead, the District Deputy Chief Administrative Officer and inspector of Schools Okayed it.
He adds that it was also found that the former headteacher released only 20 out of 100 million shillings to buy the nearby plot and the other money is unaccounted for.
“After detecting the irregularities, we stopped the school from repaying the loan and tasked the bank to recover the money from individuals who applied for it. The former headteacher committed to pay and he has failed to pay it forcing the bank to put it on sale” Ssebalamu said.
On Friday Richard Bwabye the Luwero Resident District Commissioner held a crisis meeting with the Police and School administration to save the government school from being sold by the bank.
Bwabye says that it was resolved that the Police secured a court order compelling Equity Bank to surrender the land title to the police as part of ongoing investigations on how the loan was acquired.
Bwabye adds that they have also resolved that the Chief Administrative Officer seeks a court order blocking the sale of the school.