By Brenda Twinomugisha
Acting on whistle blower information, the IGG Irene Mulyagonja has undertaken investigations resulting into a grand corruption scandal (concerning Shs4bn) being unearthed. Titled “Progress report on investigations into alleged embezzlement of funds in the Ministry of Gender, Labour & Social Development HQT 58/11/2015,”the 18 page dossier details how someone slept on the job enabling Gender Ministry officials to share colossal sums of millions of money under the guise of spending on the International Scouts Centenary Jamboree (ISCJ) which (with the President’s blessing) was held at Kaazi between 18th-28th August 2015. The detailed report also profiles officials who ate the money and the voucher numbers under which the cash was received. What is shocking is that in most cases officials took money purporting to pay service providers for the ISCJ-related activities only to account using forged receipts from fictitious service providers. In some cases A would requisition for money only to be received by B. In other cases A would receive the money only for B to come up saying it’s his duty to give the accountability. Namboole-based Pioneer Bus Services Ltd, Shell Jinja Road, Total Mbale and Junction Café are some of the entities in whose name officials drew hundreds of millions and accounted using forged receipts. Since commencing investigations, the IG detectives have been travelling to all these entities to verify the authenticity of the receipts only for the owners to deny ever supplying any goods or receiving any payment. Eria Kategaya’s widow Gwennie (a Deputy Director at ISO) is among those being investigated regarding the ISCJ fraud. She is accused by the whistle blower of receiving Shs100m from the Gender PS Pius Bigirimana ostensibly to pay volunteers who served as accreditation officers at the Kaazi international event. Yet all this is disputed by her superior Maj Joseph Aliganyira. In his 13th July 2015 letter to Gender Ministry, Maj Aliganyira says ISO received only Shs79.9m on its Crane Bank Account (014402124700). Aliganyira says the money came in three EFT installments. This implies ISO isn’t aware of the Shs100m. Even then the IG detectives are intrigued as to why ISO was given Shs79.9m against the Shs64.6m budget they originally submitted. Gwennie is among the officials the IGG is yet to quiz. ISO Security Affairs Director Maj Charles Oluka is the one who should ordinarily have acted but delegated his deputy Gwennie to handle the Kaazi event.
CLEARING THE PS;
The whistle blower had accused the Permanent Secretary Pius Bigirimana of diverting and embezzling Shs9bn from the Ministry budget under the guise of spending it on ISCJ but the IGG clears him of any wrongdoing regarding this aspect of the complaint. The report notes that there is no way the PS would divert so much money without being exposed by Auditor General John Muwanga in his subsequent mandatory audit report. The Inspectorate quotes the OAG report for the FY2015/16 showing the Gender Ministry’s audit performance was satisfactory.
The IG shows that right from inception of the event (that was introduced to the President and Cabinet by then Gender Minister Karoro Okurut), the Ministry officials envisaged a cash bonanza. That initially after the President declared full support and officially launched the National Organizing Committee (NOC), which Karoro initially chaired before passing the button on to Minister Suleiman Madada, the Ministry officials had demanded for Shs29bn for the event. The Finance Ministry protested and Gender cut it to Shs17bn which PSST Keith Muhakanizi’s patriotic technocrats cut to Shs4bn. The argument was Shs17bn was being wasteful for nothing yet government was actually broke. But even the meager Shs4bn (the IGG report shows) wasn’t spent prudently. The NOC was clearly hijacked and officials took advantage of the PS’ busy schedule and the President’s enthusiasm towards the same to defraud government and criminally make quick buck. The biggest culprit is the Ministry Undersecretary Benon Kigenyi who the IGG faults on almost each and every fraudulent transaction. He personally picked money several times including some purported to be for the ministers’ field trips to assess the country’s readiness to host the jamboree. Even when they are yet to interrogate him (he has been cagey saying he isn’t feeling well each time the IG schedules meetings), the IGG investigators are convinced Kigenyi is material for the anti-corruption court and eventually Luzira prison where his ilk (like Godfrey Kazinda) must eagerly be waiting to receive him. Even when a lot is already being unearthed, the IGG investigators aren’t even yet midway because they are many implicated officials they are yet to interrogate. There are over 100 fictitious names of police body guards and drivers Kigenyi purports to have paid yet the IGG teams have failed to locate them. They have been to police and the leadership says they don’t have such names meaning the payee lists are nothing but sham and the man IGG is holding responsible is Kigenyi who, as Undersecretary, wielded lots of powers on the jamboree event.
WHO ATE WHAT?
PETER OKUNE; He received money several times including the Shs3.9m he got under voucher number JO70 and the report shows he hasn’t accounted beyond claiming to have paid Shs1.4m to Sowate Samson and another Shs1.5m to Mondo Kyateeka, a Commissioner in the same ministry. He received another Shs3.6m but says Kigenyi is the one to account for it. He is also indicted for another Shs4.5m spent on 15 drivers each getting Shs300,000 per day. Ironically all the drivers have denied ever getting such money. He is also facing another claim of 15 NOC members getting fuel refund but on being quizzed, 11 have denied such receipt. There is another list of 15 payees who shared large sums yet they are unknown to the Ministry. The IGG wants Okune and Kigenyi to produce those recipients. Same Okune received another Shs25m on his HFB account but passed it on to his boss Kigenyi who accounted for it as facilitation for the 15 MoH doctors who worked during the jamboree. The IGG has quizzed 5 doctors so far all of whom have denied ever getting the Shs960,000 they were each entitled to.
AISA ISMAIL; She received Shs19m facilitation for the protocol team but has no accountability for the money meaning there is nothing the IGG can even verify. “She must provide accountability documents or refund the money. Mr. Kigenyi was requested to deliver the accountability ledger but he has been indisposed,” the IG progress report indicates.
GLORIA MWENGE; She casually took the responsibility to spend and account for Shs41.9m that was received/picked by Betty Ligyalingi. The report shows she is failing to satisfactorily account for the money so far. From the Shs32m verified so far, the IGG concludes that Shs27.6m was embezzled putting Ms Mwenge in real deep trouble.
MADINAH FRIDAY; She received Shs77.8m of which the IGG has so far only verified accountability for Shs16.5m and the conclusion is that (of the 16.5m) Shs1.8m was embezzled meaning the officer will have a case to answer. Her criminal liability could potentially increase once the 100% verification has been carried out.
DAVID KAYONGO; He received Shs51m under voucher no. JO20 in his capacity as chairman event decorations committee. The IGG conclusion is that upon verification of the accountability he tendered, Shs11.65m was embezzled under Mr. Kayongo’s watch.
MUHAMAD KIBIRANGO; He received Shs50,375,000 under voucher no. JO46 ostensibly for scouts leaders’ facilitation ahead of the event. The IGG report shows that of the Shs14.9m whose accountability he tendered and has been verified, Shs10.25m was embezzled. This makes his case very bad and he will need prayers to survive prison.
AGNES NAKITENDE; She received Shs50m for publicity work of which IG report shows Shs27.6m was embezzled. And this covers only the Shs32m whose accountability she tendered to the IG teams for verification. The remaining balance of Shs18m hasn’t yet been verified raising the possibility of the embezzled figure going up.
BENON KIGENYI; The IGG wants him to answer why the Ministry had to borrow from the YLP project account yet the Finance Ministry had provided the money for the scouts event. That towards 30th June, Shs3bn was rushedly transferred from the Gender Ministry account to the YLP Project account ostensibly to prevent the return of the unspent jamboree cash back to the consolidated fund. The IGG wants Kigenyi to answer for this act once he gets well and appears for interrogation. This is how finance released the money: Shs3bn on 25thJune 2015 and another Shs1bn on 26th August 2015. All this information is reflected on the Approved Warranty report, a copy of which we have glanced upon. Kigenyi’s explanation is that of the Shs3bn, Shs1.25bn was paid to the UPDF Engineering Brigade to redevelop the Kaazi camping site infrastructure as was specifically directed by the President. The IGG concludes the UPDF took a lion’s share of the money and wants satisfactory explanation from the Ministry leadership why this was so. Sudhir’s Speke Resort Munyonyo was next taking Shs574.6m for conference-hosting and accommodation of international delegates. Another Shs281.8m was paid to the Uganda Police to provide security for the event. Shs100m went to ISO to mobilize and coordinate a team of volunteers who accredited delegates. One wonders why Kigenyi insists on Shs100m yet Maj Aliganyira’s written submission is clear their budget as ISO was Shs64.6m (against Shs79.9m financial statements from Crane Bank show was actually wired and reached ISO account). The remaining Shs1.79bn went to the different NOC sub committees to facilitate different activities and the IGG report shows it was off this that powerful officials made quick buck.
KIGENYI GOOZE COOKED;
The IG teams have retrieved and scrutinized 6 volumes of accountability documents from the Gender Ministry and knowledgeable officials say the Undersecretary is clearly sitting on a time bomb implying he won’t survive prosecution in Justice Lawrence Gidudu’s Anti-Corruption Court (ACD). On one occasion, he received Shs276m under voucher JO47/8. This includes Shs60m for invitation of guests for the jamboree. The IG insists he must account for Shs15m paid to Charles Turyatunga and Shs18m paid to John Kizito of JOMO Group Africa Ltd. These two payments can’t be verified as Kigenyi is yet to provide accountability documents. The other problematic payments by the Undersecretary were made to Paddy Masembe, Charles Babenda, Dorothy Nasaka, Charles Otto and Phillip Mwanda whose doubtable identities and real existence the IGG wants Kigenyi to shed light on. “He must produce them,” the IG insists in the progress report because efforts by the Inspectorate to locate them haven’t yielded. The same Kigenyi also received Shs67m and only accounted for Shs51m so far which is yet to be verified. Another Shs12.9m he says he paid to officers in the ministry continues to be doubted by the IG because the alleged recipients have contradicted themselves as to purpose for which it was paid to them. Many have given reasons totally unrelated to the jamboree. “3 of these have denied receiving the money and say their signatures were forged,” says the report. Another official facing it rough already is Betty Ligyalingi who is Kigenyi’s office colleague. The duo must account for a one Brenda Kyakula who their accountability documents indicate received some money for the jamboree work but resigned shortly after. Kigenyi also picked and signed for Shs4.4m for the ministers’ field visits which never took place. Another Shs5m was picked by him to facilitate field visits by the ministry support staff including drivers and body guards with each getting Shs420,000 per day. Of the 12 he claims to have facilitated, 5 have denied ever receiving the money and say their signatures on the acknowledgement forms were forged! Some of the drivers on Kigenyi’s list aren’t known to have ever worked in the ministry. Policemen supposed to have got facilitated for body guard services too can’t be located anywhere. Benon Kigenyi is also being targeted for another Shs24.7m he alleges to have spent on pre-conference activities at Kaazi. His accountability documents show that in total 55 ministry officials were paid that day (13th August 2015) each getting Shs450,000 in allowances. 12 of them interviewed so far by the IGG have denied ever participating in such activity. Neither were they ever paid such money. Only 7 confirmed receiving the money but for a purpose that had nothing to do with the jamboree event at Kaazi. Suspecting they aren’t telling the truth, the IGG has decided to have their signatures examined by a handwriting expert to establish these indeed are their signatures. Some admit being given cash by Kigenyi which they never signed for which to the IG is indicative of possible fraud. “Mr. Kigenyi has to explain all this,” the report partly says. Kigenyi is also troubled by another Shs56.5m he received to facilitate NOC members but insisted Betty Kabajungu was the one to account for the way it was spent because he passed it on to her. Each NOC member was to receive Shs900,000 in daily allowances for that activity. Of the 49 NOC members, only 14 have accepted receiving the cash. Under voucher JO54, Kigenyi received another Shs51m for shuttling services from Pioneer Bus Services and produced receipts for verification showing the cash was paid to PBS. However, PBS says these are all forgeries as only Shs1.8m was paid for the only service they rendered. Kigenyi also received another Shs9.2m but forced Okune to account for it which he has so far failed. Kigenyi must also answer for another Shs1.5m payment to Junction Café and Shs300,000 to Shell Jinja Road. Both entities have interfaced with IG detectives and say receipts Kigenyi tendered are forged and not theirs. Kigenyi also spent another Shs1.8m on an alleged AROs meeting he says was held at Fang Fang Hotel whose management has since proved to the IGG that these are forged receipts.
BETTY LIGYALINGI; She was advanced Shs1.8m for drinks (1.5m) and for fueling her car (300,000) from Junction Café and Total Mbale respectively. The report shows she did this on numerous occasions but the two business entities have since disputed the receipts she tendered. She also picked Shs1.2m from Kigenyi to organize a meeting for NOC members at Junction Café which can’t be verified. The super special lady is also wanted over Shs118.2m she received on voucher no. JO25 for meals and drinks. She says she took NOC members to Chillies Take Away for breakfast which cost Shs1.8m. She also requisitioned for another Shs6.3m for a meeting review activity but now says it was Okune who picked the money. She took Shs1.99m for a meeting of the AROs which the IGG is so far failing to verify it happened.
IVAN GOMBYA; In total, he received Shs85m on voucher JO18 of which the IGG says Shs64m was embezzled.
BETTY KABAJUNGU; She received Shs24.8m under voucher JO72 and when asked to account, she produced receipts from NIKITA Services Ltd. The receipts indicated it’s officed on Charm Towers shop No. 73 and when Mulyagonja sent there her detectives, the Building’s manager told them that as of 2015, that space was a restaurant. Kabajungu is also required to account for Shs484,000 which she received on behalf of Goodman Mwesigye of ISO as fuel refund.
ASIIMWE ALEX; He received Shs79.3m under voucher JO17 for health and inspection activities for the jamboree. He received another Shs31.4m under voucher JO49 in his capacity as chairperson of the Occupational Safety and Health committee. He produced 5 receipts from NUK Pest Control Ltd for Shs31.4m which on verification the IGG found to be forged.
EUNICE TUMWEBAZE; She received Shs99.4m under voucher JO22 as facilitation for performing groups and another Shs25.7m under voucher JO71. Okune Peter is complicit in this as well. The IGG says working together, the duo embezzled Shs18.3m off the Shs99.4m Tumwebaze received. She must also be sleepless about another Shs69.8m which the IGG says she hasn’t yet accounted for.
MONDO KYATEEKA; The senior technocrat has been at the Gender Ministry for an eternity where he serves as Commissioner in charge of youth. The IG report shows he received over Shs103.65m under voucher JO33. The IGG raises a red flag over the unsigned Bank of Uganda Banking Director’s letter that was used to enable Mondo access another Shs40m. It’s also queried why the figure subsequently changed from Shs47m to Shs40m. The report says: “This issue requires further clarification.” The IG is further intrigued as to why of the Shs103.6m Mondo was authorized to receive, Shs36.5m was received by Hellen Acha yet the accountability for its spending was given by him. Another Shs27.1m was irregularly advanced to him inside the ministry offices moreover in cash. Off the Shs103.6m, the IGG concludes Shs41m was embezzled. Yet this discovery of (Shs41m being embezzled) is only in relation to the Shs44,260,000 whose accountability has been verified so far. For comments, call, text or whatsapp us on 0703164755.