Investigators unearth flaws in Butambala District’s recruitments

Butambala District chairperson Rashiida Namboowa. Photo | File

What you need to know:

  • The findings are contained in a 7-page report dated May 19, 2022, which was compiled following a whistle blower’s dossier to the ministry alleging that the district was marred with corruption, misuse of pension funds, issuance of irregular appointment letters, and nepotism among others.

Investigating officers from the Ministry of Local Government have unearthed glaring irregularities in Butambala District’s human resource management which they say could frustrate service delivery if not urgently addressed.

The findings are contained in a 7-page report dated May 19, 2022, which was compiled following a whistle blower’s dossier to the ministry alleging that the district was marred with corruption, misuse of pension funds, issuance of irregular appointment letters, and nepotism among others.

Upon receipt of the complaint, a team headed by the Commissioner of Human Resource Management, Ms Jane Mwesigwa, was constituted to investigate the allegations and advise on the way forward.

Others on the team included; Principal Assistant Secretary Denis Byaruhanga, and Principal Inspector Ismail Ahmad.

Findings

According to the report, a whistleblower alleged that the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) is always instructed to halt the issuance of appointment letters to successful candidates whenever recruitment results don’t favour certain politicians.

A case in point was cited in the recruitment of the district Internal Auditor and the Human Resource Officer where the CAO was allegedly instructed not to appoint them.

It was further alleged the CAO undermined the functionality of the District Service Commission (DSC) when he wrote to the Ministry of Public Service seeking clarification on the qualifications for the posts.

Investigators from the ministry found out that the district chairperson had directed that the recruitment of the two candidates be halted because they did not have the requisite qualifications for the posts.

However, upon request from the CAO, the Ministry of Public Service advised that the candidates were relevant to the posts of Human Resource and Internal Auditor respectively, and directed that the duo be appointed to their posts.

Investigators also found out that the district had not filled some critical vacant posts including; District Engineer, District Natural Resources Officer, Medical Superintendent Gomba Hospital, Principal Human Resource Officer, District Service Commission, and Inspector of Schools.

Besides, there were no contract managers appointed to manage the different contracts within the district and this had delayed the implementation of critical infrastructural projects and somehow led to shoddy works.

Though one of the candidates Faridah Nansubuga had been promoted to the position of the deputy head teacher under minute No.23/2019 of the DSC that sat on February 2, 2019, her appointment hadn’t been effected by the then CAO.

“There was no evidence that the CAO had furnished the DSC with reasons as to why he would not implement the decision of the DSC of promoting Nansubuga Faridah,” the report states.

The report further shows that Shamim Nakigozi was assigned the responsibilities of Secretary DSC in an acting capacity in October 2021 but the former office holder failed to hand over the office despite constant reminders by the CAO and the Internal Auditor.

The report further shows that most staff in the district had capacity gaps in Programme Budgeting System (PBS) and Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS).

These gaps were affecting the smooth operations of the district as far as quarterly reporting of central Government Ministries and Agencies is concerned.

There were also political conflicts between the DSC and the district chairperson and this was affecting the smooth operation of the district.

The District Land Board was not functioning as required. Issues of land were being mismanaged in the district, and there was also misuse of the road equipment by the Resident District Commissioner (RDC).

However, there was no evidence to show that officials in the district’s human resource were issuing irregular appointment letters without DSC minutes and to those without required qualifications as alleged by the whistleblower.

The team was not able to adduce evidence to back up the allegation that officials were extorting money from candidates seeking jobs in the district.

There was also no evidence of misuse of pension by the Principal Human Resource Officer.

Recommendations

The investigating team recommended that the CAO place an external advertisement for the positions of District Engineer, District Natural Resources Officer, Medical Superintendent Gomba Hospital, Principal Human Resource Officer, District Service Commission, and Inspector of Schools to ensure coordinated service delivery in the district.

They also directed that the former secretary DSC hands over office to Ms Nakigozi to ensure smooth operations of the DSC.

The team directed the CAO to ensure that the Contract Manager is appointed for every contract signed and that the monthly and quarterly contract management reports are produced as per form 49 in the PPDA Regulation.

“The Chief Administrative Officer is required to submit a status report on the implementation of the above recommendations within three months from the date of receipt of this report,” the report reads.

CAO confirms

The Acting CAO for Butambala District David Tweheyo Batega confirmed receipt of the report saying: “The findings are okay because there were serious allegations but fortunately the report found out that there were no issues as alleged by the whistleblower. I am yet to author the report to the PS informing him of what we have done and what we haven’t done.

He also confirmed that there is a lot of influence-peddling and ring-fencing of jobs which he said affects their work as technocrats.

On how the district intends to fix the current gaps, Mr Batega noted that they have previously written to the Ministry of Public Service for intervention on certain matters whenever they get stuck.

“There’s the Service Commission which is the umbrella of all other commissions in the country so where there’s discontent on the part of either the candidate or any of us then we appeal to the Public Service Commission (PSC) and in some instances, we also write to these other commissions like Education Service Commission (ESC), Health Service Commission and the PS Ministry of Public Service.

The Butambala district chairperson Rashidah Namboowa did not respond to our repeated phone calls.

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