All is not well at Uganda Electricity Generations Company Limited (UEGCL), an institution charged with generation of Uganda’s electricity. A whistleblower has opened the lid and penned a dossier to the office of Speaker of Parliament, Inspector General of Government(IGG) the Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury and to the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) for immediate investigations into financial impropriety, gross abuse of procurement laws, nepotism, embezzlement among others before the worst hits the institution hard.
The dossier dated 9th November, 2016, in particular blames the rot on the former Board chair and currently the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development Mr. Robert Isabalija. It points to the fact that after his appointment, UEGCL has only spiraled down in terms of financial management as his agenda from the word go was how to get direct and unfettered access to company funds.
According to the dossier, Isbalija speared headed the plunder and diversion of the institution’s funds into private uses and or into unnecessary expenditures resulting into billions of tax pays cash.
The report pinpoints at the purchase of the office building located in Kamwokya, where it reports that the institution got a shoddy deal while top managers at UEGCL pocketed a whooping 0ne billion in kickbacks. “The building was not to be less than seven years in existence. But even despite the purchase coast being higher than the panned cost, the building purchased was more than eleven years in existence and the had major cracks that were visible by anybody at the entrance”, the report reads in part.
The report tags the former board chair Isabalija as a man with Machiavellian tactics made an exodus of employees from UEGCL while others good people’s career and reputation dragged into mud, just to ensure ‘selfish’ goals from the time he was appointed to the membership of UEGCL Board in January 2013. The whistleblower points that the company is currently chocking on court cases and is on verge of paying billions of shillings in damages and costs resulting from unfair dismissals of former employees. “Cases of unfair, illegal, and malicious dismissals are on going in court. Court had advised UEGCL to seek a negotiated agreement with the aggrieved parties after looking at the IGG report, but due to his pride, Mr Isabalija snubbed the out of court settlement. UEGCL is likely to pay billions in compensation’’ the whistleblower states.
The whistleblower further points at the UEGCL management for ultimate violation of the Procurement laws in awarding service and providers. He/she points at the irregular award of Project management consultants; M/S AF consultants and M/S Mott Mac Donald deals worth USD6.5 Million dollars. He/she says that the contracts of the two companies is high, ye the same work had already been contracted to another consultant M/S Infratech at a whooping USD.35 million. “This misuse of project funds by the board and top management to pay a multitude of project consultants doing the the same thing is totally unacceptable and should not be left unpunished”.
According to the dossier, the Board chaired by Isabalija diverted billions of Project funds to facilitate Board and the top management for nonexistent trips and foreign based trainings which never related or had relevace to the projects. The report points at two scenarios where the board is alleged to have travelled to USA, Canada and France for activities that were never related to any of the ongoing projects or beneficial to the institution.
The Board is also accused of often going for trainings at the expense of staff. The board which is made up of seven people who are often on foreign trips are reported to be spending an estimate of about USD. 100,000 dollars for both air tickets and allowances at the expense of the staff who are denied such training activities.
More so, the Board is also accused of paying itself excessive allowances which are not approved by the Ministry of Energy. It is reported that the board which sits almost on a weekly basis increased their allowances without approval of the appointing authority. For some time now the Board is reportedly paying themselves Illegal sums in excess of the approved Allowances. Within one year, from September 2015 to September 2016, the whistleblower reports that one billon Uganda Shillings has been shared among the Board members in form of travel and sitting allowances.
The whistleblower also opens the lid on how Fuel intended for field activities is mismanaged and channeled into private us. It alleged that field vehicles are fueled to do private work at some top Managers and that these vehicles have been turned into family properties.
The report attributes a boasting character against the name of Isabalija accusing him of harassment and intimidation to whoever questioned or gave a divergent opinion against “Everybody in the organization has been silenced by the pompous bragging of the Board Chairman. Whenever any matter of concern is raised, the the Board Chairman assures whoever cares to listen that he is all connected to Statehouse, since he is an informer at CMI (Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence)’’.
Top management is also accused of practicing nepotism and favouritism. Its alleged that the top shots at the UEGCL have a syndicate of employing relatives, in-laws and social acquaintances to the detriment of best qualified.