Inside Shs7b scandal involving Minister for Presidency and government printers

The Minister for Presidency Milly Babalanda is currently embroiled in an Shs7b scandal that emanates from a maladministration scenario at the government printers-Uganda Printing and Publishing Company (UPPC).

Nile Post has recently learnt that whereas the minister accused the board of UPPC of fraud and abuse of office among other issues, and indeed sacked them, the minister used the board’s absence to take on, albeit illegally, roles beyond her jurisdiction, in the event causing financial loss of Shs7b.

However, an official from the Minister's office insists that the Minister is being blamed for delaying instituting the Board of UPPC due to pending corruption cases at police and IGG on the previous Board.

“It is during that time that URA took money in tax arrears,” the official states.

According to a revelation from a source who contacted Nile Post on condition of anonymity, the Minister siphoned the money from a KCB account, the same money that had been set aside by the board to purchase printing machines.

A record from the Minister’s office indicates that the money was used to pay outstanding tax arrears to Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), a copy of which Nile Post has received but can not verify.

According to the report from her office, the minister flagged an Shs3b payment to URA for taxes on 5th November  2021.

Another Shs1b was allegedly spent on income taxes to URA in March of the same year.

The documents also reveal that the Minister allowed for the payment of an Indigo machine on 16th March in the same year for Shs300m to Elite Computer Services, and another Shs1.1b for an Ingido device again a month later.

The records confirm that the balance of Shs1.5b was spent on taxes and payment of staff and board respectively.

It is key to note that Nile Post can not verify the said accountability undersigned by one JB Ahimbisibwe and is undated.

Nile Post understands that on August 16th 2021, the Minister undertook the role of procurement on behalf of UPPC, issuing a letter demanding the halting of the purchase of a printing machine.

The procurement had been done prior and at least Shs600m was spent on the purchase already.

On 13th October 2021, Spicers East Africa Ltd was awarded a tender to procure a 4-colour printer but later an email from one Nabafu Sheila, a procurement assistant at the ministry announced they would be halting the procurement in favour of different specifications and machine.

“The two procurements of the machines did not take place, they were stopped, and most likely the money was re-allocated to places where there would be returns,” the source intimates.

Notwithstanding, the ministry faces legal consequences for standing down on the companies that had been awarded procurement deals.

Following seven months of halting payments,  the minister on 21st April 2022 authorized the purchase of an indigo machine at Shs1.18.

The Parliament's Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) have summoned the Minister to explain the circumstances surrounding the Shs7b as well as how she ended up becoming the financial controller and procurement officer of UPPC.

Already the Acting MD of UPPS Kenneth Oluka and Secretary Connie Araida have appeared before COSASE and failed to explain why the corporation doesn't have a representative on the board of a joint venture to which it is the majority shareholder.




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