Mak was under audit at time of fire - Nawangwe 

Tuesday September 22 2020
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Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe. PHOTO | FILE

By Patience Ahimbisibwe

The Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, yesterday said the university was  being audited for the financial year that ended in June when their main offices were burnt on Sunday.
Prof Nawangwe, however, said the documents for the Financial Year 2019/2020 had already been handed over to the Auditor General’s team, who were using the lower ground of the main building.
“The financial documents for the Financial Year 2019/2020 are currently being audited by the Auditor General and were safely evacuated from the main building,” Prof Nawangwe told journalists yesterday after a day’s council meeting on the way forward after the devastating fire that razed the iconic building valued at Shs15.4 billion.
Prof Nawangwe said a committee has been established to determine the extent of the damage and also oversee the reconstruction of the 79-year-old building.
Prof Nawangwe added that all financial transactions are automatically backed up electronically at the Ministry of Finance with some documents kept at respective colleges.
He added that all revenue collection including student fees, rent and other payments are remitted directly to Uganda Revenue Authority.
“Documents from the offices of the vice chancellor, the deputy vice chancellor in-charge of finance and some at the university secretary’s office were secured. Students’ related data including academic records are stored digitally on the Academic Information Management System which is also backed up at the Ministry of Science and Technology,” Prof Nawangwe said.
The council chairperson, Ms Lorna Magara, said the incident has traumatised the university community.
She, however, asked the community to the gather up the pieces and start work. 
The offices at the Main Building have been relocated to the central teaching facility near the university’s swimming pool.

Costs
According to Prof Nawangwe, following government valuation of the university’s major installations on November 29 last year, the Main Building was valued at Shs15.4 billion, main library at Shs21.5 billion while Senate was valued at Shs20.5 billion.
Final year medical students are expected to report on October 3 and complete their semester on November 28. 
Other finalists will report on October 17 and conclude on December 12. However, the rest of the student communities will conduct lectures online while in their respective homes, which will commence on October 15.
On case management, Prof Nawangwe said they will negotiate with the Ministry of Health to support them in managing the spread of Covid-19.
“I assume the government will meet the cost of testing and managing the Covid-19 patients which will come up,” he said.
In a separate interview, the university secretary, Mr Yusuf Kiranda, told Daily Monitor: “All systems are online. But of course payments must have supportive documents. The last financial year audit was ongoing. All documents had been transferred to the external auditors. They were working underground where the fire didn’t reach. We don’t expect any officer to come out and say I lost accountability in the fire. We expect you must have handed over to the auditors.”
Two security officers, who were manning the Main Building are under custody to assist in investigations, according to Prof Nawangwe.

The fire
Prof Nawangwe said the fire brigade arrived at the scene at 1:10am on Sunday after the fire broke out. Initially, there were two fire engines which were unable to jet water to the roof of the building.
“After about 30 minutes, more engines with better capacity arrived but the fire had spread through a big part of the roof. The fire engines experienced a challenge with lack of a fire hydrant within and in the vicinity of the university and had to fetch water from the hydrants at the fire brigade headquarters,” Prof Nawangwe said.
 

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