Dr. Ogwel adamant to step aside amidst several ongoing investigation on NCS mismanagement

Dr. Ogwel adamant to step aside amidst several ongoing investigation on NCS mismanagement

By Emmanuel Sekago

Kampala – It is uncommon for government officials to step aside when they are being investigated, and the current situation with the General Secretary of National Council of Sports, Dr. Bernard Patrick Ogwel is no different.

With several investigations ongoing at the National Council of Sports, Dr. Ogwel has refused to step aside to allow the process go on smoothly without interfering with evidence.

In 2022, a Select parliamentary Committee was named by the Speaker Anita Among after a motion was moved by MP Asuman Basalirwa during the plenary sitting on Thursday, 10 November 2022.

Select Committee Chairperson, MP Laura Kanushu presenting the report. Courtesy photo

The committee composed of chairperson MP Laura Kanushu (NRM, PWD) and MP Solomon Silwany (NRM, Bukooli County Central), MP Geoffrey Kayemba (NUP, Bukomansimbi South County), MP Iddi Isabirye (NRM, Bunya County South), MPDonald Katalihwa (NRM, Mwenge County South), MP Agnes Achibu (NRM, Nebbi district), and MP Margaret Makhoha (Ind. Namayingo district).

To investigate operations of the National Council of Sports following inconsistencies in statements regarding release of funds to the sub-sector.

National Council of Sports was allocated Shs47.81 billion for 51 federations across the country for the Financial Year 2022-2023.

This prompted Basalirwa to move a motion for Parliament to create a Select Committee, saying that the inconsistencies in the ministers’ statements reveal that there is something wrong with the National Council of Sports and the Ministry of Finance.

The Speaker said that Parliament will not allocate more funds to the National Council of Sports until the operations and management of funds of the sub-sector are resolved.

“We want to know where the money we give you goes and after we have done that, then we can give you more money. You need to check on the governance issues because now there is suspicion that there is fraud,” Among said.

In December, 2022, the Parliamentary Select Committee on the inquiries into the operations of National Council of Sports (NCS) visited so many sports federations, and associations investigating into the running of the sports bodies and among some visited the federation of Uganda football associations (FUFA), Uganda Netball Federation (UNF), Uganda Boxing Federation (UBF), Uganda Table Tennis Association (UTTA) to mention but a few.

The Select Committee had a good engagement with all the sporting federations, and associations and all availed vital documents that helped them  come up with a good report to avert some of the challenges they face,

On April 4th 2023, the Select Committee constituted to investigate the operations of the National Council of Sports in its report called for a forensic audit on the sports body among the recommendations contained in the report presented by the Chairperson of the Select Committee, MP Kanushu on the same day.

The committee recommended that the Auditor General carries out a forensic audit on NCS to establish the inconsistencies in the funds released to the sports federations in the first and second quarters of the Financial Year 2022/2023.

It also observed that the sports body did not remit the approved funds to the sports federations in line with approved cash flow plan as required under Section 45 (4) of the Public Finance Management Act, 2015.

“The committee established that most federations received less money than what had been approved and others did not receive any funding from the Council, which has, in turn, affected the implementation of their planned outputs,” Kanushu said.

A case in point is Uganda Rugby Union that was reportedly supposed to receive Shs458m in quarter one of Financial Year 2022/2023, but only received Shs224m from NCS on 27 July 2022, according to the committee findings.

Whereas they requested for evidence of transfer of funds to sports federations, including bank statements and receipts, NCS did not submit this information to them. The committee cautioned the accounting officer of NCS against overstepping his legal mandate by suffocating budgets of sports federations, it also observed inconsistencies in the non-tax revenue (NTR) and called upon the Auditor General to conduct a special audit to verify the exact NTR projections and collections by NCS for Financial Year 2022/2023.

In April 2023, the Deputy Inspector General of Government Patricia Okiria Achan report ordered the National Council of Sports General Secretary, Dr. Ogwel to refund Shs100m within seven days after finding that he (Ogwel) received Shs29.7m  for the Namibia tournament which was not spent nor accounted for, and Shs70.5m which was the difference between the inflated 27 air tickets procured for Namibia tournament.

“Dr. Ogwel Bernard Patrick, General Secretary, National Council of Sports should refund a total of Shs100,276,001 (comprised of Shs29,719,800) paid to him for the Namibia tournament which was never spent/accounted for and Shs70,556,211 the difference on the inflated 27 air tickets procured for the Namibia tournaments) to the Government Asset Recovery Account No. 003030088000007 held in Bank of Uganda,” the report reads in part.

The IGG also ordered that; Mr. Muhummuza the then Vice President Technical, and Hajjat Nambusi Kibedi, the then treasurer, Uganda Netball Federation to collectively account for Shs30m which was not paid to male players.

With all these serious investigation reports so far released Dr. Ogwel refuses to step aside as more investigations are also being carried out.

On Friday 21st April 2023,  the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports called for a meeting at State House-Nakasero where representatives from the National Council of Sports, UNF President with her executive plus the Board of Trustees, Inspectorate of Government, Auditor General and Attorney General on how to give funding to UNF to help prepare for the forthcoming netball world cup in Cape Town, South Africa in July.

Because of the allegations made by NCS about accountabilities, it had refused to release funds because the UNF president had audit queries, and in her bravery as a federation president Sarah Babirye Kityo sought leave for three month and delegated her 1st Vice President Brigadier Flavia Byekwaso to run the Federation work with her guidance as she prepares the She Cranes for the netball world cup championships.

If the UNF president Babirye can seek leave to allow smooth investigations, why is it that NCS General Secretary Dr. Ogwel is not stepping aside to allow smooth investigations too?

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