Ms Specioza Kazibwe, the former Vice President has been asked to explain her alleged mismanagement and financial indiscipline at the Microfinance support centre.
Ms Kazibwe who chairs the MSC board faces several accusations including her alleged drawing of “millions of shillings in allowances for fake foreign trips from the company coffers.”
In a letter dated March 28 to the ex-VP, the Inspector General of Government outlines a host of allegations against her and demands that Ms Kazibwe responds to them with documents “that we may consider relevant to the inquiry.”
The board she leads is also accused of meeting monthly to draw allowances instead of the statutory quarterly meetings.
“Further to that, the board has a full-time office at the MSC offices in Kololo with the chairperson sitting there at least once every week,” reads the letter signed by David Makumbi, the director of Ombudsman affairs in the IGG, “And that you draw allowances of 500.000 [five hundred thousand shillings] every day you step in the office as a board member even when you simply come to check for your personal mails or do private work.”
Other members of the Kazibwe led board are Tim Lwanga, the former Ethics minister, Mutebi Kityo, an ex-MP, Mr Charles Ogol from the Finance ministry, Mr Twino Musinguzi and Iggy Rwabukuku.
The board is accused of unethical conduct after they reportedly appointed irregularly one of the board members to a senior management position.
According to the IGG’s letter signed by David Makumbi, the board irregularly appointed Iggy Rwabukuku as a deputy executive director without following the relevant guidelines and that he does not have the requisite academic qualifications for the job.
Mr Rwabukuku is now the acting executive director after the substantive boss Charles Byanyima was reportedly sacked because he stood on the board’s way to the company till.
“…the current acting executive director was appointed a Deputy Executive Director but served a probation period of only three months and he was confirmed, and thereafter, the board hurriedly amended the Human Resource manual to cover up the irregularities,” reads the letter.
According to the IGG’s letter, “ two positions of Deputy executive directors were allegedly created to cater for Mr Iggy Rwabukuku, a former member of the board of directors who had failed the interviews for the position of deputy executive director.”
Results of the interviews of candidates for the post show that the best candidate was Mr Wilson Wamatsembe who scored 75.5 per cent against Mr Rwabukuku who got 65.75 percent. The third applicant, Mr Asaph Muhanguzi got 60.5 per cent and was written off by the experts.
The interviews were conducted by five management experts at Uganda Management Institute. In their report, the experts said Mr Wamatsembe, 48 years, currently employed as head of development services at the microfinance centre had the requisite academic qualifications and experience.
“He made an impressive presentation, answered technical questions and understands the job requirements,” reads the report, adding: “He is ranked and recommended as the best candidate for the post of Deputy Executive Director.”
In the same report, a copy of which this reporter has obtained, the experts said Mr Rwabukuku, 57 years, holds an MBA in Finance and Accounting of Kampala International University obtained in 2008. He also understood the job requirements and made good presentation.
“However, the panel noted the following: Mr Rwabukuku lacks the first degree, holds a certificate in Banking of Institute of banking and the candidate may experience adjustment problems considering the fact that he is moving from the Board level to Operations,” reads the report.
In the IGG letter, Ms Kazibwe led board was accused of trying to advance a loan of Shs1.5billion to the staff Sacco yet the liability limit approved by the Registrar of Cooperatives was only Shs150million. “ And that the purpose of advancing the huge sum of money was to enable the Board members misuse the money,” reads the letter, “ Further to that, when this was rejected, the chairperson of the Sacco Mr Paul Agaba was irregularly dismissed…”
Mr Makumbi told this reporter on Friday that: “ It’s true there is some inquiry going on. We are in the process of investigation of the allegations you see in the letter.”
He promised “ a very exhaustive inquiry” adding that Ms Kazibwe had not responded to his letter but that he would send inspectorate officers to interview her. “ We have had a spate of complaints like that but none as detailed as that one.” Four two weeks attempts to reach Ms Kazibwe failed.
The ex-VP, who benefited from the state scholarship of Shs2.5billion for her PhD studies after she was dropped from cabinet, is also accused of borrowing without paying from small Saccos like Dundu Sacco in Mukono where she reportedly picked Shs3million but never paid back.
“That the chairperson of the Board of Directors allegedly manages the company like her personal shop and directs things to be done her way and this has created conflict with the substantive executive director who is strict on policy and procedure,” reads the Ombudsman’s letter.
It also raises concern that Ms Kazibwe suspended Mr Byanyima because she needed divert money from the Microfinance support centre to a shadowy Busoga People’s Forum, a political organization she headed during presidential campaigns.
Finance ministry which supervises the MSC told this reporter that they were aware of the allegations against the ex-VP.
“An email was sent to us containing those allegations and we were looking into it,” said Mr Keith Muhakanizi, the deputy Secretary to the Treasury.
He added: “I was not aware the IGG has opened investigations but I am aware of the allegations; the IGG report will give us away forward,” he said.
The MSC was started by the government as a vehicle through which Saccos could obtain funds in a move to promote Cooperatives and enhance household incomes. But has turned out to be an eating ground for failed politicians.