The ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development is embroiled in a scandal after a progress report by the Inspectorate of Government, the Ombudsman, detailed widespread abuse of financial resources by some of its officials.
According to the 18 page tentative report titled: “Progress report on investigations into alleged embezzlement in the ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development” more than 20 officials at the ministry were reportedly paid money for activities they did not undertake.
A whistleblower prompted the IG’s investigations after he/she claimed that the payments were a cover up for a bigger scheme, where billions of shillings was siphoned out ostensibly under the guise of spending it on the International Scouts Centenary Jamboree (ISCJ) which was held at Kaazi between 18th-28th August 2015.
It took three years for the IG to unearth the rot.
One person who will breath a sigh of relief is Pius Bigirimana, the permanent secretary in the ministry, whom the report clears of any wrong doing, in the interim.
However, sources in the IG’s office told The Nile Post that the investigations are still going on and the PS will be expected from to time to time to explain certain decisions.
“We are just half-way but some of the revelations are shocking. We don’t know how much we shall uncover,” one of the people involved in the investigations told us.
Not all officials in the ministry, however, are safe.
According to the report, many of them signed for money under dubious circumstances. Many however told the investigators that the money was related to their roles during the Scouts Centenary Jamboree celebrations.
According to the report, the ministry had demanded Shs 29 billion for the celebrations but the figure later reduced to Shs 4 billion after interventions from some people including Keith Muhakanizi, the secretary to the Treasury who suspected the figure had been inflated.
Some of the implicated officials include Mondo Kyateeka, the commissioner for Youth and Child Affairs at the ministry. The draft report alleges that he received Shs 103.56 million using voucher number JO33. The report says that this money was given under unclear circumstances. However, the report suspects that not all the 103.56 was embezzled. So far, the IGG has verified accountability of Shs 42 million of this amount.
The biggest fish implicated so far is Benon Kigenyi, the under secretary in the ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.
According to the report, Kigenyi signed off hundreds of millions of shillings under unclear circumstances. The Ombudsman wants Kigenyi to explain why he authorised transfer of Shs 3 billion to fund the celebrations yet government had committed to meet the cost of the event. This money was transferred from the Youth Livelihood Project (YLP) account on June 30, 2015.The IGG to wants Kigenyi to explain this transaction.
Tentaviley, Kigenyi has told investigators that of the Shs 3bn, Shs1.25bn was paid to the UPDF Engineering Brigade to revamp the Kaazi camping site infrastructure, where the scouts celebrations were to take place.
Another Shs281.8m was paid to the Uganda Police to provide security for the event. Shs100m reportedlywent to ISO to mobiliseand coordinate a team of volunteers who accredited delegates. Kigenyi, we have been told has been feeling unwell.
The IG expects to question him further because his case is a complex one.
There are instances, according to the report, when he received Shs276m under voucher JO47/8. He is also expected to explain Shs 15 million paid to one Charles Turyatunga and Shs18m paid to John Kizito of JOMO Group Africa Ltd.
Apparently, these payments have not been verified because Kigenyi is yet to provide the documents.
Other questionable payments were made to Paddy Masembe, Charles Babenda, Dorothy Nasaka, Charles Otto and Phillip Mwanda.
Kigenyi also received Shs67m and only accounted for Shs51m so far which is yet to be verified.
Bigirimana told The Nile Post he could not comment about the report because he has not seen it.
“Contact Kigenyi if it is anything to do with the Jamboree,” he said.
Efforts to talk to Kigenyi were futile. Sources told us that he has become evasive, even to the IG investigators, ever since queries were raised about some of the payments.
Munira Ali, the spokesperson of the IG told The Nile Post that since investigations are still ongoing, it would be premature to comment on any finding.
“That is a progress report and we are still investigating. When we release the final report, we shall notify you.
She declined to comment any further.
Besides Kigenyi and Kyateka, the report points out that another staffer Aisa Ismail was given Shs 19 million as facilitation for protocol but she has not provided any accountability.
Others are Madinah Friday who the report alleges received Shs 77.8 million, David Kayongo, Shs 51 million and Agnes Nakitende who was given Shs 50 million to do publicity work for the Jamboree. Nakitende, according to the progress report, has only accounted for Shs 27.6 million.