The Inspector General of Government has directed the Minister of Finance to immediately suspend former Vice President Dr Speciosa Wandira Kazibwe as board chairperson of government-owned Microfinance Support Centre Ltd and its acting Executive Director Iggy Rwabukuku.
Mr Raphael Baku in a May 20 directive to Ms Maria Kiwanuka, ordered that the duo be restricted from performing their functions at the MSC and the entire board be suspended until investigations into their alleged mismanagement, improper conduct and transaction of Board business have been concluded.
“This is therefore to invoke the provisions of Article 230(2) of the Constitution and Section 14(6) of the Inspectorate of Government Act to direct that you suspend the executive director and the purported members of the board …. Until this investigation is concluded and results communicated to you,” the IGG wrote. Ms Kiwanuka could not be reached for comment by press time as she was said to be out of the country.
Mr Rwabukuku could also not be reached as he is out of the country but Dr Kazibwe said she was not surprised by the allegations. “The IGG has not communicated this to me and I am sure he would have,” said Dr Kazibwe, who is currently on a working visit in Nairobi. “Those stories have been circulating for very long. I personally saw those allegations going around anonymous emails in November last year,” she said, adding that she would defend herself.
Dr Kazibwe is accused of, among other things, reportedly sending Mr Charles Byanyima, the MSC executive director, on forced leave over his alleged refusal to remit Shs2b which Dr Kazibwe allegedly said was to be used for election campaigns in Busoga.
It is alleged that Dr Kazibwe, who headed President Museveni’s re-election technical taskforce, told Mr Byanyima that she would personally guarantee the re-pay of the funds once the President fulfilled his pledge he made to the Busoga People’s Forum, an organisation Dr Kazibwe also heads.
Mr Byanyima reportedly declined her request, forcing the MSC board chairperson to arbitrarily suspend him.
MSC was incorporated in 2001 as a linchpin of the government micro-credit programmes. Dr Kazibwe yesterday denied the allegations and responsibility for Mr Byanyima’s forced leave. “Where would he (Byanyima) have gotten that money? How would I pay it back? Where would I have gotten it from? Did anyone see me campaigning in Busoga? All lies,” Dr Kazibwe said.
Dr Kazibwe is also accused of drawing funds from MSC for foreign trips which she did not take and for using MSC resources for personal activities not related to the institution. She receives Shs500,000 in allowance everyday from MSC, investigation also reveal, even when not on official duty at the MSC offices.
Mr Baku has also directed that the suspensions of the MSC Company Secretary, Ms Dorcas Apita Angom, and the Manager Legal Services, Ms Mariam Ndibuuza, be disregarded on grounds that they were suspended contrary to the provisions of the Human Resource Manual and were being victimised for pointing out wrongs being committed by the board. Ms Angom and Ms Ndibuuza are key witnesses in the IGG’s investigation.
On June 17, Mr Rwabukuku suspended Ms Angom and Ms Ndibuuza over alleged gross misconduct. Ms Angom had written to the Finance minister seeking her guidance on whether the MSC Board should continue to conduct the agency’s business while it is improperly constituted.
On April 21, then Finance Minister Syda Bbumba, wrote to Dr Kazibwe granting her and other board members another three-year term to the Board of Directors. The board members include Henry Mutebi Kityo, Tim Lwanga, John Kigyere Twinomusinguzi and Charles Ogol.
However, the IGG says appointment of the board was flawed since the board members mentioned by Ms Bbumba were not formally approved by a General Meeting of MSC Shareholders – who include the Minister for General Duties, the Finance Minister and the Minster for Microfinance. He added that other staff members would be deterred from giving evidence to the IGG for fear of victimisation if Mr Rwabukuku’s actions were not remedied. Claims of lack of proper academic qualifications and accusations of sexual harassment are also levelled against Mr Rwabukuku.