Inside the rot at ICT Ministry as probe files go missing at DPP, SHACU

Inside the rot at ICT Ministry as probe files go missing at DPP, SHACU

Probe files into allegations of corruption, nepotism and mismanagement at the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance have reportedly gone missing.

Last year in May, the State House Anti-Corruption Unit (SHACU) commenced investigations into the ministry following a tipoff from whistleblowers.

During the investigations, SHACU unearthed several scams within the ministry, such as the misuse and duplication of fuel cards, siphoning of funds meant for the Parish Development Model (PDM) as well as nepotism.

At the centre of this investigation was Aminah Zawedde, the ministry’s permanent secretary. However, some sources within the ministry claim this was a witch-hunt to tarnish her name.

On several occasions during the investigation, SHACU summoned and questioned Zawedde and several top-level ministry officials while a few of them were arrested. Zawedde, in particular, is said to have appeared at least six times at SHACU for interrogation according to sources at the ICT Ministry.

Sensitive files go missing

In September 2023, SHACU completed its investigation and handed over the file to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) for perusal and guidance on appropriate charges against the implicated officials.

However, up-to-date everyone has gone silent about the matter and there are suspicions that someone is deliberately sitting on the files to frustrate the case.

When contacted for a comment, the SHACU spokesperson said investigations were completed and files forwarded to the ODPP.

But in a fresh twist of events, the ODPP spokesperson, Jacquelyn Okui, insisted that the files were sent back to SHACU for further investigations.

“The case files were perused and sent back for further investigations,” she said. “I am sure of the information I have,” Okui added when pressed about SHACU’s earlier response that the files are apparently with ODPP.

It is not clear where the files are at the moment. The whistleblowers suspect there could be connivance and collusion between various entities to frustrate justice.

The SHACU report reportedly recommended several changes at the ICT ministry but nothing has been done, and this, according to insiders, confirms their fears that forces are sabotaging within.

Rot unearthed

Highly credible sources told this publication that investigations unearthed massive flaws in the usage of non-taxable revenue (NTR) by the ministry from entities it supervises such as the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC).

“It was discovered that a great deal of these funds are diverted to inconsequential things as a way to steal the funds,” said a source who was briefed about the contents of SHACU report findings.

Allegations are that one of the staff in the transport section, Alex Mujuni was caught red-handed with 27 fuel cards in June 2023, but he was released shortly afterwards after pleas from his masters, the minister and permanent secretary, sources add.

It is further alleged that Mujuni, who joined the ministry as a personal assistant to ICT minister Chris Baryomunsi, hijacked the ministry’s transport department and was de facto head until SHACU investigators swung into action.

“Since taking over as permanent secretary, Zawedde has discarded the old tested ministry technocrats in favour of her self-picked clique with whom she runs the ministry, including Mujuni,” reads the whistleblower report.

Inside the PDM Scam

Another issue that SHACU investigated was the misuse of funds meant for the Parish Development Model (PDM) project. SHACU is said to have discovered the scam in which the designs of the PDM model for the ICT ministry were manipulated.

“SHACU discovered that not only did the permanent secretary okay an inflated procurement for the ministry’s PDM system, the system designers went ahead to manipulate the system to siphon millions. This was only possible because she recruited her own people, loyalists and relatives to manage such key projects in the ministry.”

The whistleblowers further claim that SHACU unearthed a plot in which Zawedde colluded with a local TV station for media publicity.

“As a ministry, we are mandated to first deal with government’s media entities like New Vision and UBC but she [Zawedde] diverted hundreds of millions to this TV for coverage and publicity on flimsy events and she did not stop there; she ensured that it is paid promptly at the expense of any other media house,” the whistleblower report further reads.

“We find this irregular and contrary to the public service regulations and orders.”

The whistleblowers further claim that they have it on solid record that Zawedde has poured hundreds of millions into sabotaging efforts to hold her accountable for the mess in the ministry.

“All was well in the ministry until her [Zawedde] arrival in 2021. She has disrupted all directorates by putting the old guard on Katebe while working with a few individuals who came along with her. As a result, the performance of the ministry has declined yet nothing is being done to address the situation,” a source at the ministry added.

Issue of pensioners

This publication also understands that pensioners of the now defunct Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL) who formerly worked under Uganda Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (UPTC) are not happy with Zawedde and have always found difficulty accessing their money and accuse her of acting indifferent towards them.

“Majority of our former colleagues have no jobs and are nursing ailments and always cursing as to why they ever had to work for a government. This PS, Dr Zawedde is the most ungrateful lady who does not care about anyone apart from herself,” says one of the pensioners who has been chasing her money for more than a year.

Related post

Why MP Atima spent shs150m on community coaster bus

Why MP Atima spent shs150m on community coaster bus

By Andrew Cohen Amvesi  ARUA. Jackson Atima Lee Buti, the Arua Central Division Member of Parliament (MP) has used shs150m to buy…
Why MP Atima spent shs150m on community coaster bus

Why MP Atima spent shs150m on community coaster bus

By Andrew Cohen Amvesi ARUA. Jackson Atima Lee Buti, the Arua Central Division Member of Parliament (MP) has used shs150m to buy…
ARUA CITY: Chamber disassociates from trade order enforcement

ARUA CITY: Chamber disassociates from trade order enforcement

By Our Reporter   ARUA. The Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UNCCI) Arua City branch boss, Dr. Ronald Debo has…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *