|By Emmy Allio
THE Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Aronda Nyakairima (right), has halted the operations of Access Finance Services (AFS) in Bombo army barracks.
The company was offering loans to soldiers at 54% interest.
Aronda has also ordered investigations into how the company was allocated offices in the barracks, contrary to army regulations stopping foreign companies from doing business inside military facilities.
The AFS activities alarmed the Army Commander who halted their operations and also ordered investigations. We are waiting for the report of the probe team,?army spokesman Major Shaban Bantariza said yesterday.
The South Africa-based company, with offices on Workers House in Kampala, was allegedly assisted by senior defence ministry officials to deduct salaries of their creditors at source.
Sources said Aronda ordered the former director of inspectorate in the army, Major Bakahumura, to head the probe.
But Bakahumura has since been deployed as liaison officer to the United Nations Observer Mission in Congo (MONUC) and Major Chris Bbosa has replaced him.
The investigations are likely to focus on the role of the permanent secretary, the principal personal officer and the salary department.
The demand for a loan scheme for soldiers prompted the army to negotiate with Stanbic Bank for a loan scheme.
The UPDF Chief Political Commissar, Brig. Kale Kaihura and Director of Welfare, Lt. Col. Livingston Katerega, are said to be leading the negotiations with the bank for a lower interest loan.
Sources said Stanbic Bank had agreed to lend money to soldiers at 18% interest.
But the army is also considering forming a cooperative society, which would offer an even lower interest rate on the loans.
If needed, JFPI Corporation, a private company would administer the society.
Debate is going on as to whether we should pursue the line of Stanbic Bank or form the co-operative society with JFPI¡¨, a senior army source said.