A money lender in the Kiruhura district is blamed for capitalizing on his clients’ pressing need for credit facilities, to dupe them into paying over and above the agreed amount.
Several people have allegedly fallen prey to this moneylender’s actions, and the current batch of claimants has up to 15 borrowers.
Juliet Nankuunda, one of the 15 claimants, narrates that in July 2018 she borrowed 10 million shillings from Sanga Abamwe group’s Rushere offices. She says that this money was to pay school fees for her children and to sort out some urgent issues at her animal farm.
According to Nankuunda, she received the money on that same day as she wished. But this was after filling in the loan agreement form onto which the group official, advised her to leave the amount space blank, which she casually did, unaware of the outcome.
About the security for the loan, Nankuunda says that she was informed by the same office that they don’t need security against the loan. “The loan was for one month, at an interest of 2 percent per month” she adds.
She says that before this transaction, she had borrowed 5 million to run her grandfather’s burial from the same people, and the same procedure was followed. “But the difference is in the first transaction I paid back the whole amount with interest in three days.”
Upon completion of the first loan, she wrote in the ledger book as someone who had completed her payment and that was all. She says that her expectation was of the same process under the new loan she had acquired.
For the second loan, Nankuunda says that she had traveled and delayed repayment for seven months, but in return, she paid 9.6 million shillings and requested to know how much she owed the group after that payment.
To her surprise, after the group official informed her that the documentations were not yet ready, the next interaction was when she received court documents that she was sued for defaulting 22 million shillings, which she opposes.
The case has been in court for the last three years, and even the mediation process failed to resolve the matter. She adds that at an interest rate of 2 percent per month, her balance would be 1.8 million shillings after paying the 9.6 million shillings after even factoring in the seven months’ delay.
Amos Tulinaawe the director of the Sanga Abamwe group, whom URN talked to on phone, says he has been in business since 2015, and in this particular case, he has all the supporting documents of having borrowed money from these 15 people whom they don’t want to pay, and the matter is before court pending judgment;
According to Tulinawe, he is owed more than 100 million from this group. He affirms that he transacted all these credit facilities when he was licensed, first by the RDC as it was then, and after with the Uganda Microfinance Regulatory Authority, UMRA.
He adds that it is only this calendar year 2022 when he is not licensed, that he decided not to renew his license because he wanted to take a break from the money lending business.
Nelson Mutatiina the UMRA director in charge of supervision, told URN that they have received several complaints from this same money lender, and some of them have been resolved and others have failed and parties sought other means.
According to Mutatiina, due to these complaints, the authority resolved not to renew this moneylender’s license for this year. He adds that for now they have taken the sensitization approach to inform the public to avoid transactions with unlicensed lenders.
“The public should know that transacting with an unlicensed money lender, is illegal by Ugandan laws,” he says, adding, “Ignorance of the law is no defense, and UMRA is soon cracking down on these illegal players.”