By Our Reporter
At least six senior staff from Uganda Bureau of Statistics (Ubos) were last week grilled by detectives from the Inspector General of Government (IGG) over alleged corruption.
The staff had been summoned a week earlier as the ombudsman widened investigations into alleged mismanagement of funds, victimization of staff and nepotism at the statistics body.
The IGG spokesperson Ms Ali Munira confirmed that the officials appeared and were interrogated as per the allegations labeled against them.
“As part of the investigations officials keep appearing and the IGG is trying to expedite the investigations to bring the matter to conclusion,” Ms Munira said.
However, she didn’t disclose the details, saying that it might compromise their investigations.
A source privy to the investigations told this website that the officials “found hard time responding to the allegations,” adding that “detectives are making a breakthrough on the matter.”
Our source also revealed that the grilled officials are from the departments of human resource, consumer price index, economic statistics, project management and business development, surveys, and field operations and logistics.
“We are also interested in the manner in which Ubos bosses are carrying out recruitment yet they are under investigations. Nepotism is one of the issues which was raised by the whistleblower and it’s just fair that management stays away from recruitment until we conclude investigations” our IGG source said.
This reporter has seen a shortlist dated March 14, 2022 inviting more than 50 candidates to attend interviews for the respective positions applied for.
On August 3, 2021, Ubos executive director Dr Chris Mukiza wrote a memo to all senior officers announcing a new structure.
According to the memo that this reporter has seen, Dr Mukiza promoted at least 21 officials to senior positions, triggering protests within the agency.
The aggrieved officers alleged that the change of structure was done irregularly since the IGG had already opened up investigations into Ubos’ operations.
When contacted over the issue, Ubos’ head of communication, Edgar Mbahamiza, said he was on leave and hadn’t been updated on the ongoing recruitment.
Ubos’ woes started last year after a whistleblower petitioned President Museveni alleging that the top officials in the institution were victimizing staff and carrying out fictitious transactions which put taxpayer’s money at risk.
The petitioner further claimed that Ubos’ top officials paid huge sums of money to some staff to carry out fictitious field work when the country was under total lockdown.
Details contained in a 94-page dossier chronicle alleged fictitious work of up to Shs2b.
The money, according to the whistleblower, would be withdrawn on requisition by top officials and wired to bank accounts of junior staff who would then be instructed to withdraw and return the cash to the senders for sharing.
President Museveni through his Principal Private Secretary (PPP) Dr Keneth Omona directed the IGG Beti Kamya to investigate the officials and allegations raised by the whistleblower.
Ms Kamya subsequently wrote to the Minister of Finance Matia Kasaija on October 19 directing him to immediately interdict five top Ubos officials including Dr Mukiza to pave way for investigations.
Dr Mukiza’s second term will expire in April 2024 but will not be eligible for reappointment since he will have hit the retirement age cap.