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Ex minister Bakoko Bakoru returns from exile on Friday

Bakoko Bakoru

Zoe Bakoko Bakoru, the former Gender, Labor and Social Development minister is scheduled to return to the country this week after over 8 years of self-imposed exile.

Mike Agondua, the coordinator of Bakoku's return says they have received confirmation from government that Bakoku will jet in at Entebbe Airport on Friday February 12, 2016.

According to Agondua, a team of elders from Ayivu county and family members will receive Bakoko on her arrival at the airport. In 2007, Bakoko fled to exile in United States of America after she was implicated in the botched $225 million National Social Security Fund (NSSF) housing project.

In February 2007, Margaret Tibulya, the then Buganda Road Chief Magistrate, issued arrest warrants for Bakoko, businessman, Isabirye Mugoya and former NSSF Managing Director, Leonard Mpuuma for snubbing summons to respond to charges of causing a financial loss to NSSF. Bakoku was then accused of abuse of office.

It was alleged that while still as minister, Bakoko approved a private company, Mugoya Estates to enter into a joint venture with NSSF for the construction of 5,000 housing units for the Nsimbe housing estate project which caused a $4.7 million loss.

According to then Inspector General of Government (IGG) Justice Faith Mwondha's report, Bakoko received the agreement in the morning and approved it in the afternoon without consulting the Cabinet and or the Attorney General Francis Ayume.

Mwondha noted in her report, that, Mugoya officials bribed NSSF officials so as to win the tender as well as overvaluing the land where the estate was to be constructed. Mugoya officials had also allegedly contacted NSSF to improperly lend it about $5 million for Nsimbe housing project.

While in exile, Bakoko denied any wrongdoing instead saying she had been made a "sacrificial lamb" so as to cover up the real culprits.

She went on to claim that when she became minister in 2001, she discovered that $5 million was being stolen from NSSF every month by an associate of Gen Salim Saleh (President Museveni's brother), Emma Kato.

Bakoko, who boasted of having overseen the growth of NSSF collections from Shs 1.5 billion to Shs 6.5 billion per month; claimed the Office of the President and that of the First Lady often wrote "chits" asking for money from the fund. She also accused Salim Saleh of asking for money directly from NSSF.

Bakoko decided to return to the county following a meeting with President Museveni during his recent visit to New York. Dema Levi Yiki, the chairman organising committee says they are prepared to throw a big party for Bakoko's return.

According to Yiki, they have organised traditional dancers as part of the celebrations to welcome back their daughter for exile. Bakoko served as Ayivu county Member of Parliament and Gender, Labor and Social Development minister from 2001 to 2006.

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