This directive was contained in a press statement issued by the Presidential Press Unit yesterday.
On Wednesday, Mr Museveni met local leaders from Acholi led by Gulu Resident City Commissioner (RCC) Jane Francis Amongin Okili to follow up on complaints raised during his February tour of the region.
Leaders, who attended the meeting, include local council chairpersons, councillors, and other beneficiaries, as well as the State House Anti-Corruption Unit head Henry Isoke.
The beneficiaries told the President that leaders, especially civil servants, conditioned them to pay vast amounts of money before accessing PDM funds.
For example, in Unyama and Awach sub-counties in Gulu, communities were reportedly called to the sub-county instead of the parish level to process and form groups during which each member was charged Shs10,000.
According to the statement, President Museveni asked Brig Isoke to follow up on the matter for action.
“For the corruption in Amuru, those corrupt people are stupid and we are going to arrest them. This money came and it will be traced, that’s why I started my upcountry tour and you’re helping me. We are going to arrest them properly, we have got some rooms at Luzira, there’s some good accommodation there,” the President warned.
In late February, while in Acholi for his regional tour to preach shared prosperity and investment, Mr Museveni said his efforts to fight poverty would not be brought down by the corrupt.
The President said whereas the money was sent into group accounts, individual members did not receive it.
Residents also told Mr Museveni that the technical officials at the districts and sub-counties asked them to pay money for group validation, access to funds and group registration.
They also reported the bureaucratic tendencies in accessing the funds that have caused millions of shillings to remain dormant in bank accounts.
Ms Gloria Adokorac, a resident of Unyama Sub-county in Gulu, said each of their 30 group members was asked to pay Shs10,000 and in case one needed a loan, they would pay about Shs260,000 to access a Shs1 million loan.
Ms Filda Angwec, a resident of Gulu City, said PDM has increased poverty levels since officials were collecting money from the communities.
Mr Museveni said he realised that none of the farmers had benefited from the programme.
“The thieves are not clever people because they don’t know that money is like a snail (which leaves marks behind), with the NRM, we have direct contact with the people. First of all, we have the elected LC leaders, but in case they are compromised, I can meet with you directly,” he said.
He added: “You the elites in this region, you the learned, and you are the ones confusing our people. So, the elites, I appeal to you to listen carefully to the NRM message on wealth creation for everyone and every homestead. So, the elites, help us spread the right message of wealth creation”.
In May last year, Parliament approved Shs1.49 trillion for PDM to cover 10,400 parishes, however, during a recent recess, MPs found out that huge chunks of the money were lying idle in the bank accounts.