ZOMBO. The state minister for northern Uganda also Zombo district woman Member of Parliament Ms Grace Freedom Kwiyocwiny has come under unusual attack on social media with a section of personalities accusing her of taking part in the alleged embezzlement of over shs11 billion meant for finance of tea growing in Zombo and part of Nebbi district.
The minister who has been silent over the matter for quite long finally broke the silence saying those pointing accusing fingers should come up with their documentary evidence and stand witness to that.
“I’m hearing that people including me have stolen tea money but what I know, the tea money was deposited with NAADS under the ministry of agriculture and not on individual accounts but if anyone has evidence that can help in the investigation of allegedly stolen money then the person should come forward and bear witness”, she said.
Okwiyocwiny who spoke on a telephone interview on Wednesday afternoon denied dipping her fingers into the tea treasury and added that the matter concerning the reportedly embezzled tea money is before the Inspector General of Government (IGG) that has taken over the matter for investigation to ascertain the allegations.
“The tea money I know about is the shs 180 million that came from NUSAF III to support tea farmers across the district”, she said.
She also lashed out at the critics of Edwin Foundation, a consultant reportedly hired by her to bring into shape the ailing tea gardens saying a lot is being done by the foundation especially in building the capacity of tea farmers and rehabilitating the almost lost tea gardens.
The legislator equally urged critics of the Edwin foundation to come up with their evidence against the foundation instead of derailing the people from focusing on what is beneficial to the community and individual households.
Mr. Jimmy Okello, the chairman Zombo tea cooperative society who had been supportive to the Edwin foundation in our previous interview said what they needed most was the farmers’ capacity building which was and still being built by the foundation.
But it is no longer the view he holds about the Edwin foundation. Okello said he is supportive of the tea growing in Zombo and whatever they are doing or saying as Zombo tea cooperative society now is to fight the deliberate wrongs being done to cheat tea farmers.
He accused Edwin foundation of making underground moves to persuade tea farmers into signing what he called an illegal MoU that would allow farmers handover their tea gardens to him for better management for a period of 5 years.