IGG petitioned over mismanagement at Kabale University

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IGG petitioned over mismanagement at Kabale University
Kabale University

Prof. Benon Basheka, the deputy vice chancellor in charge of academic affairs at Kabale University has petitioned the Inspectorate of Government seeking for an investigation into the manner in which the public university is being run.

In the petition to the ombudsman, Prof. Basheka says the current chairperson of the appointments board of the university is currently holding the position illegally .

“ Section 44 (3) of the University and other Tertiary Institutions Act, (2001) as amended provides that the appointed members of the University Council shall hold office for a period of three years and shall be eligible for reappointment. On the authority of Section 38 (3) an elected and appointed member of the University Council shall hold office for four years. The chair of the board and another member have continuously served four years without following this requirement,” the petitioner says.

He  quotes  section 38 (5)(h) of the same act that he says is  clear in regards the office of a member of the University Council that shall be vacant upon ceasing to be a representative of the particular office or body by virtue of which that person became a member.

He however says the members were sent to the university through a process “characterised by bad faith and dishonesty.”

The petitioner mentions the current chairperson of the appointments board, Henry Turyagyenda and one Herbert Baryayebwa who were elected as senate representatives in 2015 which came on the backdrop of their earlier appointment as representatives of the university senate to represent the education ministry , the process he says was characterized by unfairness.

“In the senate meeting of November, 5, 2015, two representatives namely Professor Christopher Zigira and Mr Benjamin Turyahikayo had been elected to represent senate on the University Council. However, in a subsequent Senate meeting of November, 26, 2015, it was irregularly proposed; for nothing other than for the purpose of benefiting Turyagyenda that 'for purposes of good governance, and best practice, that two senate representatives should be from persons appointed by government to senate to reduce dominance by university employees'. Subsequently, the members that had already been democratically elected had to be reviewed.”

“The illegal actions above resulted into the resignation of one Benjamin Turyahikayo and the senate then agreed to elect Henry Turyagyenda as senate representative to the University Council. He had benefited from an illegal process and upon reaching the University Council, he again through illegal processes became the chairperson of the Appointments Board.”

The petitioner says Turyagenda  served the term of that University Council for 4 years yet he had only been elected to represent senate for 3 years.

“ He did not seek another mandate of senate and continued as senate representative and chair of the Appointments Board thereby earning allowances which he was not entitled to. The two Senate members have therefore continued to serve on both senate and council an additional four years since march 2020 irregularly.”

Salary

According to the petitioner, the university legal officer, one Judith Ahimbisibwe was irregularly recruited and that the university secretary together with the chairperson of the appointments board changed the salary scale of the legal officer despite not having the requisite academic qualifications.

He says that whereas the position required a master’s degree, the recruited legal officer didn’t have the same.

“She has since been earning wrong salary which is abuse of office and this has caused financial loss to government.  There are some other staff who have been similarly irregularly recruited and their scales changed due to the conflict of interest by the University Secretary and his colleagues,” the petitioner says.

Whereas section 64(4) of the University and Other Tertiary Institutions Act demand that the Auditor General shall audit and deliver to the university council a copy of the audited accounts together with the report on the accounts, the Kabale University secretary and bursar, the university council has been intentionally denied access to the audited accounts of the university and neither does the university council have access to the Auditor General’s reports.

“The finance committee of the university council has also been deliberately denied access to the same reports. The audit and risk committee of council has also been deliberately denied access to the same reports. Management also has no access to the audited accounts and management letter as this is only accessible by the university secretary and bursar.”

“There are serious questions why such records should be kept confidential to all other officers and organs apart from the two individuals. This state of affairs often has led to irregularities in changing implementation of activities through re-allocation of funds without approval. This has not only caused financial loss but affected a number of core activities of the university.”

The Kabale University deputy vice chancellor says the motive of concealing and hiding such information has rendered decision making difficult and this calls for investigation.

“Public officials have no reason to conceal information from the governance organs which are mandated by law to exercise their power. This constitutes serious abuse of authority and the motive needs to be unearthed through detailed investigations.”

Mismanagement of student results

 The petitioner says the university has a widespread mismanagement of examination results but that the vice has remained concealedand once these matters are raised, those who dare do so are labelled as being against the university.”

“Unfortunately, the units and officers who are expected to ensure integrity of these processes are the ones at the heart of the problem.”

He adds that the university recently received a new public service structure and made attempt to re-designate some officers to the new salary structure which has had several financial implications.

“The  process was selectively undertaken and a number of staff who had served long had their scales not adjusted. There is general apprehension among several staff due to these selective promotions. Unfortunately, they are usually harassed when they raise any matter. It is a fact that an attempt to re-adjust staff on the new public service structure only saw staff of the office of the university secretary only benefit. The existing long serving staff were ignored.”

Financial abuse

According to the petitioner,  the university secretary has continued to build a system, “ only useful  for financial mismanagement.”

“Activities which are not within the budget are created. Procurements are inflated.”

He mentioned the procurement of the university bus whose cost was quoted to be shs600 million but the actual cost was shs300 million.

“The circumstances under which this bus was procured need to be thoroughly investigated and why the money for the vehicles of the Deputy Vice Chancellors could not be availed but money for the bus had to be obtained. The inflated costs in the renovation of buildings also need to be investigated. Some of these are embarked on.”

Request

Prof. Basheka says the IGG should take interest in the matters raised  but also to protect him from being  the deputy vice chancellor in charge of academic affairs at Kabale University “unfairly victimised for being professional.”

“ The petitioner has been interdicted on trumped charges but the scheme is to allow his absence from office being used to cover up all the irregularities. I request your office to urgently intervene in this complaint such that the perpetrators are not allowed to tamper with the evidence. “

Contacted for a comment on the matter, the IGG spokesperson , Munira Ali said she would get back to me but by the time of the publication, she had not.

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