By SMN INVESTIGATIONS TEAM
KIBUKU, Uganda- For the last two weeks scores of detectives attached to the State House Anti Corruption United headed by the dreaded Col. Edith Nakalema has been in Kibuku district.
The team is on ground to investigate scores of alleged corruption, abuse of office and swindling of UPE funds by top district officials.
Hon. Beti Olive Namisango Kamya promised to crack the whip regarding graft when she assumed her new role as the Ombudsman.
The latest we have unearthed among the priority on her list is the probe of alleged fraud, abuse of office, and extortion against top District officials in Kibuku district.
On the spot is Wamika Christopher the District Education Officer (DEO) who is accused of scores of crime. In short, he is being investigated.
The rate of corruption in this district is worrying. The cries against graft have been so loud albeit any solution, but it seems finally there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Basing on intelligence reports we have gathered from the Inspectorate of Government (IGG), heads are set to roll in Kibuku.
Issues related to Corruption in Kibuku is not new. It has been reported in various District Departments.
In 2019, the State House Drug Monitoring Unit arrested the District Health Officer Dr. Buyinza Godfrey Kaggwa for alleged facilitation of drug theft from government stores.
Buyinza along with Chemtai Patrick the supply chain management officer were arrested after URA officials impounded a YY Mabel- Kampala bound bus with Government of Uganda drugs. Upon questioning, the suspect a one Ongom Robson who had the parcel said he was working with Buyinza and Chemtai. These were arrested, but what happened after is a story for another day.
Break-into of District premises
In July 2020, three suspects were apprehended after they broke into the Kibuku District Headquarters and stole office equipments and cash totaling shs5.2m.
Mika Kirya, a security guard, Fatima Kalendaka, an office attendant and Bob Mulenyi, a resident of Kibuku town council were named as suspects in this break in.
The trio had apparently broken into the office of the Chief Finance Officer, registry and that of Deputy Chief Administrative officer where they walked away with valuable documents, including laptops.
Both the district chairperson and CAO described the incident as an inside job affair.
Missing Covid 19 cash
Last year (2021) during the lockdown scores of Local Council One chairpersons from Kibuku stormed the offices of the Resident District Commissioner Margret Kikomeko Mwanamoiza demanding for their unpaid Covid 19 allowances.
They claimed that their allowances were chopped from the original shs200, 000 to shs170,000 while others had their shs200,000 reduced to shs130,000. The chairpersons camped at the RDC’s offices until their questions were answered.
Kibuku like other districts in Uganda received funding from central government for COVID 19 emergency.
Ever since it was curved out of Pallisa district in July 2010, nothing seems positive out of this autonomy, apart from cries of graft from locals.
DEO On Spot
Our main focus today is in the Education Department whose docket is under “Jackie Chan”, the DEO, or call him Chris Wamika.
Kibuku has 22sub counties as well as five Town Councils and a total of 405 villages.
The center of our investigations is the cries of scores of head teachers from over 70 primary and secondary schools. For years, these school heads have cried silently after they were threatened with a “sack’ or transfer.
For now all identities of all those interviewed will remain anonymous since the IGG, CID and State House Anti Corruption Unit headed by Col. Edith Nakalema are carrying out investigations.
What went wrong?
What we unearthed was that out of the approved and recommended staffing for the Education department of 986, only 970 have been filled leaving a vacant of 17 unfilled posts.
Our independent inspection of various UPE schools in Kibuku revealed that there is shortage of teachers, inadequate and inferior latrine facilities, inadequate desks and classrooms among others.
These conditions according to the various head teachers we talked too negatively impacted on the academic performance of the pupils. In our investigations, we found that since Kibuku was curved out of Pallisa in 2010 (11 years ago), no single Government school has performed to its expectations; apart from say a few private schools.
According to the 2020 Primary Leaving Examinations results, only 4 schools, majority private emerged among the list of the best 3,000 countrywide.
These included Kings Kids Primary School, St Elizabeth Primary School, Triple H Community School, Yesu Afayo Jub Christian Primary School, and Kasasira Primary school, the only government aided and Church of Uganda founded school.
In terms of performance for 2020 Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE), just a couple of secondary schools made it.
Among these were Hill View Bulangira, Nandere SS, Bright Future, Ezra Memorial, Highlight SS Kadama, Paradise SS Kibuku, Alliance SS, Brilliant SS Nangaza, Buseta SS, Kagumu, Citizens International, Bulangira SS, Kaamu Memorial and Nabwisa SS.
One candidate, Kulu Keith Joel emerged the best in the entire district after scoring aggregate 10. He was from Hill View Bulangira, a private secondary school.
Alleged corruption issues against Wamika
The harrowing tale of scores of headteachers of how the DEO forces them to remit a portion of funds they get as capitation grants is teary.
Following a tip off from whistle blowers, the DEO, Christopher Wamika aka Jackie Chan is currently being probed. Wamika is not new to controversies and accusations of corruption, and abuse of office. In 2017 he was charged with theft, forgery, and abuse of office Vide G.E.F 006/2017 Kibuku Police station. Where this case ended, no one knows.
Inside sources within Kibuku District Service Commission have come out to claim that Wamika doesn’t qualify to work as District Education Officer since he lacks the required academic papers. We are trying to relate the new allegations to the 2017 forgery case. “He may deny it but we shall disprove him. Wamika is not a graduate teacher, he holds a diploma and a bachelor in Social sciences and an alleged Masters from a university in Ghana where he has never been,” said a close source.
Wamika insists he has the academic papers.
Abuse of office
In 2019 soon after the opening of term one, the then Resident District Commissioner M/s Juliet Najjuma Senkoole instructed the DEO to reprimand over 50 primary school teachers who absconded from duty for a week with no clear reasons.
Najjuma told the district officials that absconding from duty was a total abuse of office that called for action to ensure government gets value for money.
The RDC observed that during her routine supervision most teachers found in school were found chatting under trees, while those few found in class were teaching without lesson plans. This she said was due to lack of supervision by the district education department and school inspectors whose docket Wamika handles.
UPE Funds worth shs150 million chewed
The latest investigations is regarding alleged ‘swindling’ of over Ugx 150 million that was part of the recent release of UPE grants. According to reports, the UPE funds were reportedly shared between the various school headteachers and political leaders of the district.
The Resident District Commissioner Margret Mwanamoiza Kikomeko revealed to us that her office is investigating these allegations.
“I received reports that the just released UPE funds were shared instead of doing the work its intended for. I summoned the PTA Chairpersons and School Management Committee Heads of all Government aided schools to discuss the matter,” she said.
Though the headteachers were supposed to summon the school head of PTA and SMC to discuss the budgeting of the funds received, they opted to keep silent.
Headteachers who spoke to us in confidence said they were under pressure from the DEO to remit a portion of what they had received. “Each school was forced to remit shs3 million that the DEO said was needed by top district officials,” said one teary Headteacher.
Wamika speaks out
The DEO Wamika Christopher described the allegations as baseless and mere politics. “This is not the first time the IGG is investigating me. IGG has so far probed my three or four times and a report was released to the District Service Commission,” said Wamika.
He said the issue of forgery regarding his academic papers was also investigated. “I have papers, I have Masters come to the district and I show you. Do these headteachers have evidence that I got money from them? But since a team of detectives of State House (Nakalema’s office) are here let us wait for the outcome of their investigations,” he said.
The Kibuku Local Government District Chairperson Mohammed Nakeba acknowledged that the RDC’s office was investigating the allegations though no one had come to officially complain to him.