BY PATRICK JARAMOGI
KAMPALA, Uganda|SHIFTMEDIA| The woes for embattled Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) chairperson is far from over.
Scores of charges have been slapped on Sylvia Muwebwa Ntambi over an alleged corruption scandal. Muwebwa was charged with Corruption at the Anti-corruption Court in Kololo in absentia.
On Thursday, reports emerged that Ms Ntambi wants to blame the Ruparelia family as being behind all her corruption exposure at the Commission. However, the attempt has failed to garner credence.
Ms Ntambi, facing several counts of corruption and fraudulent dealings at EOC, says her charges would never be known had she not declined to do business with Mr Rajiv Ruparelia, the managing director of Ruparelia Group, who had won a bid to house EoC at the magnificent Kampala Kingdom mall.
She apparently said that she rejected the shs2oo million rent per month charges that were being demanded by the Ruparelia Foundation.
Ms Ntambi is accused of operating under unethical practices such as nepotism, that has caused untold division at the EOC.
The charging of Sylvia Muwebwa Ntambi follows a length dossier to President Yoweri Museveni calling for his intervention. According to a petition dated 22nd May 2019, the whistle blower accused her of causing financial loss of over 200 million through termination of workers contracts and forcing workers to resign and replace them with her relatives and friends.
Since she took over the chairperson-ship of the commission, the whistle blower said Mrs Ntambi has unfairly dismissed over 11 staff, terminated over 10 staff contracts, four contracts have not been renewed. In 2017/ 2018, the Auditor General advised the commission to employ people on permanent contracts however the chairperson declined and this has since led to financial losses.
They accused her of directing the collection of Shs 100million which they had approved in the commission meeting and the said money was to be used as kickbacks for individuals who worked hard for passing of the commission budget in 2018/19.
“It was paid and collected through individual bank accounts. It was collected and handed over to her at Kampala International University (KIU), Kansanga on 7th March 2019,” the whistleblower said. Despite being the chairperson of the commission, Mrs Ntambi is averred to have forced her secretaries to pay her as a consultant in the production of various reports.
Ms Ntambi has been kicked out of her job and court summons to answer corruption-related charges, are at her door steps.
Sources closer to the Ruparelias intimate that they have since moved on from the bid loss and have nothing to do with the administration of public agencies.
The whistleblower’s dossier that is said to have caught the attention of President Museveni who instantly ordered State House’s Anti Corruption department to initiate an investigation in the matter pinned Ntambi, who should focus on the matters under investigation.
“The money was paid to Prof. Sunday Nicholas Olwor (Shs 14M), Kamahoro Enid (Shs 13M), Nassanga Sarah (Shs 5M), Atukunda Susan (Shs 6M), Mugisha James (Shs 12M), Kwesiga Ronnie (Shs 12M), Kwesiga Ronnie (Shs 10.55M), Sarah Nassanga (Shs 9M), Kwihangana Manasseh(Shs 13M), Prof. Sunday Nicholas Olwor (Shs 9.8M), Kwesiga Ronnie (Shs 9M) and Sylvia Muwebwa Ntambi (Shs 13M),” payment slips indicate.
She is also accused of irregular approval of allowances of various members of the commission, using commission vehicle for doing private businesses, irregular recruitment of staff without embracing commission procedures. It is said that she illegally recruited Betty Namazzi, Juma Waira and Petau Isabirye Babirye.
The whistle blower also revealed that the Ag commissioner Jjemba Evans holds two offices as the head of the department of compliance and enforcement and research, monitoring and evaluation. It is averred that she is using these two departments to siphon money from the commission.
The Petition states in part that; “The Chairperson has created more expenditure lines outside the approved budget so-called ‘Public Relations (PR)’ since the start of this FY 2018/2019. The Chairperson introduced this mischarge at the start of quarter one directing the collection of UGX100 million which they had approved in the Commission meeting.
The allocation had not been approved by the Finance Committee because it was not part of approved work plans and budget.
The said funds were to work as a kickback to stakeholders who had approved our budget for the year 2018/19; The same said funds were paid and collected through individual staff bank accounts. Later the same funds were handed over to the Chairperson of the Commission, Mrs Muwebwa Ntambi Sylvia.
Summary of the Petition
Evidence of Q3 collections indicating the individual employees to whom the funds were sent is as follows:
Prof. Sunday Nicholas Olwor – 14 million, Kamahoro Enid – 13 million, Nassanga Sarah – 5 million Atukunda Susan – 6 million, Mugisha James – 12 million million, Kwesiga Ronnie – 12 million, Kwihangana Manasseh – 13 million, Sylvia Muwebwa Ntambi – 13 million.
The above collections relate only to Q3 of FY 2018/19. The hinds were collected, handed over to the Chairperson on 7th March 2019 at Kampala International University – Kansanga between 5/6 pm or thereabouts.”
The Whistleblower asserts that this diversion denied the Commission opportunity to implement activities as per the approved work plan and budget in favour of Public Relations costs which were never provided for.
“It is obvious that this act of diversion was meant for self-enrichment by Ms Sylvia Ntambi, the Chairperson. This has subsequently caused budget under-performance and a breach of contract with the appropriating body and the public,” the petitioner continues.
He also alleged that; “Despite being a full time member of the Commission and hence earning a monthly salary, Ms. Muwebwa Ntambi also forces the Secretariat to pay her as a consultant. E.g. the Chairperson was paid UGX 10 million for being a consultant for the production of the Annual Report on the State of Equal Opportunities for FY 2017/18.”
Ntambi is also accused of allegedly refusing and or neglecting payment of staff salaries.