Bad blood is boiling between two top government officials Mr. Keith Muhakanizi, the Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, and Mr. Stephen Isabalija the new Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.
Insiders say it is this fight that directly resulted into a directive from Muhakinizi calling the Auditor General to investigate the power generator over its usage of billions of shillings in implementing two power dams; the 600MW Karuma and the 185 MW Isimba. The two projects, are expected to add over 700 MW to the national grid once Completed.
Our impeccable sources have revealed that the fierce battle stems from a 15-page dossier by a whistle blower to Muhakanizi faulting Isabalija of gross mismanagement of funds worth billions while the Board Chairman of Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited (UEGCL). The dossier accuse Isabalija of diverting billions of the projects’ money into non relevant activities including personal pleasures.
The whistle-blower’s dossier is said to be pointing an accusing finger against the Isabalija to have led a plunder campaign of billions of shillings into private use through faulting of Procurement laws, unnecessary foreign travels and awarding of extravagant allowances to board members even when there were never meetings.
Among many allegations leveled against Isabalija in person is that he received millions of shillings on nonexistent foreign official trips but only to be spotted in Uganda’s posh upcountry resorts and sometimes at Victoria University where he doubled as a Vice Chancellor. The whistle blower is said to have affirmed his/her allegation with documented evidence to pin the current new PS at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.
However, the bitter fight between the two officials is said to have taken shape when Isabalija blocked the Auditor General’s attempts to carry out a forensic audit at the UEGCL. The Auditor General had been directed by Muhakanizi to follow up on the voluminous allegations by the whistleblower and to ensure that a thorough forensic Audit is carried out at the UEGCL headquarters.
While the AG’s job is to carry out audits on government entities, it is said that AG’s team met resistance from the board Chairman (Isabalija) who was a key subject of the investigation. It was not until Isabalija was removed and made the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Energy, the Auditor General could break the resistance and effect the Muhakanizi directive.
While the UEGCL Spokesperson, Simon Kasyate, told The Independent Magazine that the organization has welcomed the auditors with open hands and provided as much cooperation as they required, it is said that the board is embroiled in uncertainty as they can be sure of the audit’s outcome.
Usually, the AG audits all entities at once and produces annual reports that are then submitted to parliament. However, occasionally, the AG finds their office carrying out special audits on entities.
The on-going audit of UEGCL is one such special audit. It is also important to note that it is under Isabalija that UEGCL gained a lot of control of the projects in question.
WHO IS STEPHEN ISABALIJA
Isabalija is a Policy analyst, Finance and Project management specialist with post graduate training and extensive industrial experience in specialized Financial management and project management skills in Donor (USAID, DANIDA, SIDA, AusAID CORDAID, EU, ADB, WORLD BANK, and DFID) and government accounting in areas of budgeting, value for money audits Project accounting, contract accounting and management, treasury management, credit management project management and evaluations, financial manual writing and Policy analysis.
He has been consulting for the last eleven (11) years with private and public institutions in Change Management, Project management, financial Management and policy analysis. He is the Vice Chancellor for Victoria University Uganda. He has a been a professor in several Institutions including Makerere University Kampala (MUK) Makerere University Business School(MUBS) where he lectured in the Faculty of Management for eight (8) years, Facilitator East and southern Management Institute(ESAMI) in Policy analysis Project Management, Management of change, Strategic Management, Creativity and Innovation, entrepreneurship, Financial Management organizational behavior ,Business Administration, Human resource management and General Management.
Isabalija has a Doctorate of Philosophy majoring in Public policy (International Development and sustainable futures) from the Nelson Mandela School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, Southern University, USA. He is a member of the project Management institute (PMI). He was a Board Member of several institutions including Uganda Electricity Generation Company Ltd (UEGCL) before he was appointed the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development where he was the Board Chairman. He is also the Director and Chair of Credit Committee Uganda Development Bank Ltd (UDBL) and Member of Council Victoria University, where he served as a Vice Chancellor.