The continuous withdrawals by police officers are posing a significant threat to the existence of Exodus Savings and Credit Cooperation Organization (SACCO). Established in 2007 during the tenure of Gen Edward Kale Kayihura as Inspector General of Police (IGP), the Exodus SACCO aimed to provide affordable and low-interest loans to members of the police force.
According to Senior Commissioner of Police-SCP Wilson Omoding, the Chairman of Exodus SACCO and also the Deputy Director of Police Operations, withdrawals have consistently remained high, accounting for over 69 percent of the total deposits every month.
“The SACCO has achieved significant growth in its loan portfolio, with a 48% increase, reaching UGX 45.8B. Savings withdrawals remained high at approximately UGX 557M per month, constituting over 69% of deposits during the period. Loan disbursement totaled UGX 28.69B with total assets reaching UGX 69.97B,” Omoding said.
His remarks came in response to a recent inquiry by the Parliamentary Committee on Defense and Internal Affairs, which uncovered irregularities primarily affecting police officers recruited into the force from 2015 onwards. The parliamentary probe revealed that junior-ranking officers, who represent more than 91.6 percent of Exodus SACCO’s membership, were allegedly coerced into joining the savings scheme against their will.
Some officers claimed they were pressured into joining the SACCO upon completing their training, with refusal resulting in difficulties obtaining necessary documents from superiors for accessing loans from other financial institutions.
“…those who vehemently refused to fill out forms for membership were held at ransom whenever they needed letters of undertaking from their superiors, following their need to access loans from other financial institutions. In such cases, letters of undertaking could only be issued to respective officers on condition that they filled out forms and formally joined the Exodus SACCO,” parliament reads in part.
However, Omoding clarified that the parliamentary investigation did not fully consider the progress and challenges faced by Exodus SACCO since he assumed the chairmanship in 2020. “Exodus SACCO operates per the cooperative principle of Autonomy and Independence. The SACCO is an autonomous, self-help organization controlled by its members, with no interference from Police Management. It operates under the patronage of the Uganda Police Force to improve officers’ welfare,” Omoding said.
Mary Nankinga, a member of Exodus SACCO, echoed SCP Omoding’s sentiments, highlighting the organization’s stability and financial growth over the past three years. Despite challenges such as retirements and voluntary exits leading to a slight decrease in membership, Nankinga emphasized the SACCO’s commitment to transparency, accountability, and member autonomy.
“The SACCO engages its members directly through various channels such as Board, Management, Delegates, Community Liaison Officers (CLOs), and Unit commanders, providing updates on SACCO developments, including shares, savings, loan products, system upgrades, and addressing member concerns,” Nankinga said.
In response to the parliamentary inquiry, Exodus SACCO management has corresponded with the registrar of cooperatives, providing documentation addressing the issues raised. Additionally, they have communicated with the Police Council, underlining the SACCO’s establishment by council resolution in 2007