Mak deputy academic registrar convicted for graduation mess

Ms Margaret Lubega Etuusa. 

What you need to know:

  • By her actions, she wrongfully side-stepped the ceremonies and contracts committee and hijacked the contracts.

Ms Margaret Lubega Etuusa, the deputy academic registrar in-charge of ceremonies at Makerere University, has been convicted of corruption in connection with irregular procurement of companies to provide different services during the 67th graduation ceremony .

Ms Etuusa was being accused of neglecting procurement laws in securing companies and people who provided services such as phone keeping, drinks, food, and flower vending.

On Friday Anti-Corruption Court judge Margaret Tibulya agreed with Ms Josephine Namatovu from the DPP’s office that Ms Etuusa had acted arbitrarily in all her four contracts award dealings, whose actions she said portrayed the university as disorganised and greedy. 

“The accused (Ms Etuusa) awarded contracts to service providers outside the procurement process by virtue of her office of deputy academic registrar in charge of ceremonies. By her actions, she wrongfully side-stepped the ceremonies and contracts committee and hijacked the contracts,” Justice Tibulya ruled last Friday.

“She, therefore, wrongly used her office. The prosecution has proved that Ms Margaret Lubega Etuusa abused her office as alleged in each of the four counts,” the judge  ruled.

Ms Etuusa was sentenced to pay a fine of Shs4 million in respect of all counts or serve an imprisonment sentence of two years in respect of each count to run concurrently. 

The court also barred her from holding public office for the next 10 years.

In her analysis, Justice Tibulya observed that Ms Etuusa single handedly determined the terms for the award of the contracts, including how much money the contractor paid to Makerere.

“Whether or not, the institution got value for money, and or suffered financial loss and extent of that loss can never be fully determined. This is prejudicial to the interests of the institution,” the judge ruled.

Ms Etuusa, who had earlier been suspended by the university management, was accused of illegally hiring Exxon Contractors, a private company, to keep guests’ electronics during the graduation ceremony.

The company reportedly fleeced parents and grandaunts under the guise of securing their mobile phones and other gadgets. 

The company allegedly charged Shs3,000 for each gadget placed under its custody.