IGG; Raphael Baku

The Inspector General of Government has ordered former Vice President Specioza Kazibwe to refund Sh58.3 million she failed to account for while she was the board chairperson of the government-run Microfinance Support Centre (MSC).

In a report circulated on Monday, the IGG, Mr Raphael Baku said Dr Kazibwe and suspended MSC executive director, Mr Iggy Rwabukuku, were liable for poor management and misuse of funds at the centre.

The IGG also recommends that Kampala International University should recall and revoke the Masters Degree that was reportedly erroneously awarded to Mr Rwabukuku to stop him from wrongfully benefiting from its entitlements.

The findings and recommendations follow an investigation into MSC after the IGG received complaints against Dr Kazibwe and Mr Rwabukuku.

According to the IGG, while Mr Rwabukuku did not have the requisite academic qualifications to head MSC, the Kazibwe-led board appointed him for selfish reasons.

“The board of directors did not carry out due diligence to ascertain the validity of the academic qualifications of Mr Iggy Rwabukuku before appointing him despite the red flag highlighted by the Consultants from Uganda Management Institute in their report,” the IGG report reads.

The IGG also accuses Dr Kazibwe of demonstrating a high appetite for cash while she headed the MSC board.

Money unaccounted for
“The frequency with which the board chairperson made claims for allowances on account of work allegedly done for MSC was unusually high. For example, between the months of August 2009 to November 2009 the board chairperson collected allowances between Shs7.5 million to Shs9.4 million per month,” reads the report.

According to the report, in the said period, Dr Kazibwe claimed allowances for 53 activities she allegedly carried out on behalf of MSC “and out of those the Inspectorate of Government found funds in respect of only 12 of the said activities to have been properly accounted for.”

The findings show that the payments made to her in any given month by way of allowances rivaled that of some of the highest paid managers at MSC “which begs the question as to whether the chairperson’s role had not essentially become managerial or whether the chairperson was deliberately interfering in what would ordinarily be MSC managerial duties for financial gain.”

The IGG recommends thus: “The Minister of Finance should require Dr Speciosa N.K Wandira to either fully account for the money remaining unaccounted for amounting to the sum of Shs58,300,000 within one month from the date of receipt of this report or to make immediate arrangements to refund the same to MSC.”

The report says the board acted irregularly to allocate an MSC vehicle and an office to Dr Kazibwe “because this is not provided for in the Memorandum and Articles of Association neither was this among the terms and conditions of her appointment.

“As a chairperson of the board, she did not require a vehicle and an office because her role was not expected to be of a full-time nature,” the report states.

It also points out that in what appeared to be a premeditated scheme by the board to exert more control over management at MSC, they immediately appointed Mr Rwabukuku, who was their colleague on the board as acting executive director notwithstanding the fact that he lacked managerial experience, he was the second best in the interviews, and had no requisite academic qualifications for the job.

“The board was working as if they were full-time employees of the company. The board was no longer steering policy but was essentially managing MSC and taking executive decisions,” the report states.

Mr Rwabukuku first served as deputy executive director before he was appointed executive director.

The report comes out after the Finance Minister, Ms Maria Kiwanuka had already swung the axe against Dr Kazibwe by appointing a new board headed by Keith Muhakanizi, the deputy Secretary to the Treasury.

• The board created the second position of Deputy Executive Director deliberately to accommodate one of their own, Mr Iggy Rwabukuku Musaali, who had been beaten in the interviews by Mr Wilson W.Wamatsembe.

• It is our (IGG) considered view that the creation of the position of Deputy Executive Director was not done in good faith.

• The Board ignored key evidence of Mr Iggy Rwabukuku Musaali’s ineligibility even after the UMI consultants had pointed out that he did not have a Bachelors Degree and ended up engaging someone without requisite qualifications. This was most likely an intentional oversight meant to serve the board’s own interests.

• It was also established that the consultant who carried out the risk assessment, Ms Elizabeth Kalembe, had previously worked with one Mr John Baptist Lwanga who turned out to be a business associate to Dr Speciosa N.K in M/s Concave International.

• Dr Speciosa N.K Wandira’s son, Mr. Julian Kiiza, was also found to have worked as a research assistant for Ms Kalembe’s consulting team.

• When queried about these links, Kazibwe stated that Mr John Baptist Lwanga worked with Ms Elizabeth Kalembe as an individual consultant and no revenue accrued to M/s Concave International Ltd from the consultants. She also emphasised that her son was an adult and she could not influence his actions.

By Chris Obore, Daily Monitor

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