Parliament- Makerere University management officials yesterday had a tough time before the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament after they failed to explain why they did not collect tuition fees from more than 80 students and rent from several tenants.
The officials led by the university secretary, Mr Charles Barugahare, were appearing before PAC, chaired by Budadiri West MP Nathan Nandala Mafabi (FDC), to give responses to queries in the 2017/18 report of the Auditor General.
Key among the queries was that the university management did not collect Shs148.9m from 81 students who sat exams in 2017.
Mr John Muwanga, the Auditor General, also added in his report that 32 of the students appeared on the graduation list of January 2018 yet they had not cleared their tuition arrears of Shs65.2m.
“Failure to enforce revenue controls leads to revenue losses to the university; it also undermines service delivery,” reads Mr Muwanga’s statement in part.
Makerere University has a 60 per cent tuition policy which requires all students to pay the percentage at least by the sixth week of the semester, short of which they miss tests and course works.
Under the same policy, students who have not cleared their tuition by examination time are not allowed to sit for their exams.
The policy has been seen as one of the major causes of students’ strikes.
The MPs including Ms Jesca Ababiku (NRM, Adjumani) and Butemba County’s Pentagon Kamusiime questioned the manner in which students were allowed to write exams and also graduate without meeting the policy, which has seen many of their colleagues dropout of the university.
Both the Academic Registrar, Mr Alfred Masikye Namoah, and Mr Barugahare fell short of convincing the lawmakers.
In his response, Mr Barugahare said the students were only allowed to write exams but would not receive their academic transcripts unless they have fully paid up.
But Mr Mafabi said there is suspected fraud and collusion, in the selective manner in which the students are allowed into examination rooms without meeting the requirements.
In a related development, Makerere University is on the spot for failing to collect rent from tenants occupying commercial space within the university.
No tenancy agreements
The Auditor General noted in his report that, “a review of the schedule of miscellaneous revenue revealed that the university was expected to collect rental fees of Shs1.67b during the financial year under review. However, only Shs929.7m was collected resulting into a shortfall of Shs737.2m.”
The Auditor General also stressed that 59 tenants were not paying rent at all, an anomaly that was attributed to the absence of tenancy agreements and weaknesses in implementation and enforcement of existing procurement and financial management guidelines.