By John V Sserwaniko

The IGG Lady Justice Irene Mulyagonja has vehemently reacted to allegations contained in a three page whistle blower petition that was received and filed by Lt. Col Edith Nakalema’s anti-corruption office on 20th March 2019. In there, the author alleges a number of things before imploring Nakalema to use her clout to get the President to fire Mulyagonja and replace her with a new IGG. “It’s up to them. If they have strong reasons as to why they think I’m unsuitable to be in this office, let them take it directly to the President. If they think I have misconducted myself or become incompetent or become mentally incapable of doing my duties, I will go once they convince the President. I know there are people who badly want this job and I don’t care. I had my other job [of judge] before this one,” Mulyagonja said urging those eying the position to be patient “after all I have just one year to go and I will finally be out of this place.” She said she isn’t surprised by such allegations because this isn’t the first time an attempt is being made to demonize her and other members of top management at the Inspectorate. Mulyagonja also said she was ready to cooperate with investigations should Nakalema decide to constitute any basing on the contents of the whistle blower’s petition. “We are ready to cooperate with the Lt Colonel should she decide to act on that complaint because we have nothing to hide. There is nothing wrong we have done.” She said the first time such an attempt was made at discrediting her work was two years ago when someone authored a huge dossier stating 100 grounds for her removal from office but nothing came out of it because it was all concoctions without any proof. The allegations centered on alleged mismanagement just like on this occasion.

THE ALLEGATIONS

The whistle blower implies the Mulyagonja-led administration has instilled too much fear at the Inspectorate, staff can’t freely express themselves anymore hence the decision to petition Nakalema. One of the issues raised relates to HR matters in reference to IG employees who have been holding Regional Inspectorate Officers and Principal Inspectorate Officers in care taker capacity for now three years (counting from the FY2015/16). The petitioner says the promise was to confirm them (as RIOs/PIOs for various regional offices) after 6 months which hasn’t happened. That even without being confirmed, the officers have continued getting allowances for holding the positions in acting capacity. That they have been asserting themselves demanding confirmation in vain explanation being that there is no money for the additional wage bill. That management keeps telling them they don’t merit confirmation since they are just care-taking yet colleagues were previously confirmed under similar circumstances. The whistle blower says its irregular for someone care-taking a position to earn an acting allowance for the same. In the alternative, the whistle blower says even acting continuously beyond 6 months is equally irregular and contrary to public service standing orders. That anything beyond 6 months would be null and void-the maximum acting period being 12 months. That there are many officers at the IG serving in acting capacity who are suffering quietly. The whistle blower also doesn’t spare Secretary to the IG Mrs. Rose Kafeero who he accuses of handpicking and recruiting people into the Inspectorate without following laid down procedures as stipulated in the Internal HR Policy (2017) and Public Service Standing Orders (2010). That people on the waiting list from the previous recruitment should have been prioritized which wasn’t done. That recruiting from the waiting list has to be within 6 months after the initial recruitment. The whistle blower wonders why management says there is no money for the wage bill yet recruit at the same time. He also says monies being saved on staff who have quit (retired or resigned) too can be utilized to cater for the subsequent recruitment or confirmation of the employees who have held care taker positions for too long. There are also some who have retired whose salary allocation the whistle blower wants to be used to cater for cases that have been long overdue for confirmation. He begs Nakalema to intervene and stop the “ongoing irregular recruitment” at the Inspectorate. “To be honest with you, the Inspectorate of Government requires new leadership as soon as possible in any case it should have happened yesterday. The current management are already operating like they have left and do not care on the issues of staff. We beg the President to force her [Mulyagonja] resignation if possible. Allegations of bribery among the IG staff are real. This is because the environment here at IG is that of every man for himself. Everything is wrong from formation of work plans for the budget, to procurement of a service provider for construction of the IG Headquarters, to training staff, to handling complaints/investigations and also prosecution. Without mentioning names, some staff are currently receiving bribes going as high as Shs350m per allegation. That partly explains why the IG is not performing,” the whistle blower concludes. Mulyagonja said some of the grievances her staff have are beyond her. She gave the example of many being disgruntled because of failure to have their monthly salary increased “but that’s beyond us.” She said: “What are we supposed to do after submitting these requests to the Ministry of Finance and Parliament? Do they want us to use personal money to increase their salaries? They should be reminded that other workers like those at DPP are even worse off; earning much less. What are those ones supposed to do?” She admitted its true herself and the deputies had their increment effected but still maintained that can’t justify anger against her and other members of top management. She also said there is a lot some of her staff don’t understand regarding failure to confirm people at Principal Inspectorate Officer level positions-and that could account for some of the misguided anger. “When you are to fill positions or appoint people at the level of Principal Inspectorate Officer, you must have adequate budget for the respective salaries and the comparative gratuity, NSSF, PAYE and the accompanying allowances. That budget isn’t available to us as yet despite efforts to communicate to Finance Minister Matia Kasaijja. What are we supposed to do when they say there is no money?” Mulyagonja said adding that she wasn’t obliged to explain everything to all members of staff. “Are we as top management supposed to first consult staff whenever we are to replace staff who have left? Do we have to first consult staff? Where does that happen?” She also vehemently defended Rose Kafeero against allegations of handpicking and fraudulently recruiting people into the Inspectorate. “That is simply not possible because there is a full Appointments Board comprising of myself, the two deputies, two people appointed by the President, the representative of Chairman Public Service Commission and a representative of the PS Ministry of Public Service. So how is it possible that Mrs. Kafeero can do what she is being accused of?” She said regardless of whoever tries to push for such a thing, there is no way handpicked recruitment can be effected at the Inspectorate. She denied claims of incompetence and underperformance saying her high performance record is clear and well captured in her entity’s policy statement that is annually subjected to thorough scrutiny by Parliament. For comments, call, text or whatsapp us on 0703164755

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