KAMPALA- A whistleblower has asked the Inspectorate of Government to investigate why more than half of positions at the Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) ministry remain vacant, with retired civil servants irregularly tapped to head directorates.
In a March 2, 2018 petition to Ombudsman Irene Mulyagonja, the whistleblower accuses the ICT ministry Permanent Secretary Vincent Bagiire of “abuse of public office and corruption” by allegedly usurping the power of the President to name directors.
One of the cases cited in the dossier is that of Telecommunications and Posts commissioner John Mayanja whom the PS, based on “administrative” consideration, on July 28, 2017 asked to continue working pending a Public Service Commission decision on renewal of his contract.
Mr Mayanja, a former employee of Uganda Posts & Telecommunications Commission, concurrently acts as the director for Communications and Broadcasting Infrastructure.
Sections A-a, 10(a) of the Public Standing Orders vests the authority to appoint a civil servant to head a government department or higher position in the President.
“This [deployment of Mayanja] is illegal and tantamount to abuse of office by both the PS and the senior officer who both know the due procedure...” the petition reads in part.
ICT ministry bureaucrats say the positions have not been filled because the ministry is undergoing a restructuring. The petitioner, however, informed the IGG that the explanation is being used as a ruse to use National Information Technology Authority-Uganda (NITA-U) as a conduit to spirit away public resources.
“It is a curtail strategy and a syndicate between NITA-U and the office of the permanent secretary to defraud the government through NITA-U, by keeping the (ICT) ministry dysfunctional [and] offer NITA-U [the opportunity to be] at the forefront at the expense of the entire country,” the whistleblower noted.
ICT ministry PS Bagiire, who previously chaired the Parliament ICT committee when he was a Member of Parliament, yesterday denied any wrongdoing but acknowledged that many positions in the ministry remain vacant.
“If the petition is to the extent that there is corruption because two positions have not been filled then it is far-fetched. It is true the ministry is restructuring to mirror the dynamic nature of the ICT sector,” he said.
The PS also explained that the Directorate of IT& IMS created in 2006 is currently irrelevant because all its work can be handled by the Directorate of ICT Services.
“Today what is relevant is a Directorate of ICT Services, which means the job descriptions would differ. We made a submission to the ministry of Public Service and they are evaluating our proposed structure. As soon as they revert, we shall advertise,” Mr Bagiire said.