A section of Members of Parliament (MPs) have accused officials from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development of transferring about Shs257,000 (US $70) charged on each migrant labour worker on a personal account.
The MPs want the Ministry investigated over the matter.
The MPs including; Western Region Youth MP, Mwine Mpaka, Ngora County MP-David Abala and Manjiya County MP- John Baptist Nambeshe, said the money is reportedly wired to a personal account of Yasin Abdlatiff Musoke who uses it to ‘purchase suits, shoes and perfumes.” The money is meant to monitor Ugandan migrant workers while abroad.
Mwine said that each labour company remits US $70 for every Ugandan worker exported to Middle East or else the company risks losing its working license.
“We have discovered that this money is channeled to a labour liaison officer in our embassy in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) and put on his personal account. If each of the 185 registered companies takes 50 Ugandans abroad, and each Ugandan pays US $70, we are looking at a tune of about Shs30 billion per year,” Mwine said.
“We Parliament to set up a committee into the status of this Fund, under what legal framework was this Fund set up, how is this money being used?”
Flashing copies of Musoke’s purported bank statement, Mwine said the details indicate he is misusing the money meant to help vulnerable Ugandan migrant labourers.
He said bank statements indicate Musoke has so far received Shs668 million. This is much more than budget the embassy has,” he said.
Abala wondered why money that is meant for public use finds its way to Musoke’s personal account.
“When you talk about migrant labour, we are talking about human beings. He opened account in Stanbic bank in Uganda not Riyadh. This money was meant for monitoring labour force and when the labour workers get into problems, this money should help them, but it has been mismanaged. Why should this money be put in an individual account if it is public money?” the MP wondered.
Nambeshe described the US $70 charge on each migrant labourer as a form of extortion orchestrated by officials at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.
“This is broad day robbery; we are wondering which legal framework they’re basing on. This is illegal. We have been hearing mafias (sic) in government little did I know many are in the Ministry of Gender. This money would be in consolidated fund. It’s an illegal fund on migrant labourers,” Nambeshe said.
According to the Uganda Association for External Recruitment Agencies, there are 140,000 skilled and semi-skilled Ugandans working in the Middle East as blue-collar professionals as well as technicians, security personnel, porters, drivers, cleaners, housekeepers, catering and hospitality personnel.