Igg Probes Health Official Over Abuse Of Trucks

Igg probes health official over abuse of trucks
Appeared in The Daily Monitoron 17 Dec 2021

The Inspectorate of Government is investigating an official from the Ministry of Health over allegations of using donated Covid-19 trucks to transport building materials to his construction site in Kyegegwa District.

The trucks were donated to the government by Total Uganda Ltd and TATA Uganda Ltd during the first Covid-19 lockdown to help in the fight against the spread of the virus.

Mr James Tukahirwa, the senior assistant secretary/transport officer, allegedly instructed Mr Geoffrey Kugonza and Mr Simon Rwabugasha, both drivers attached to the ministry to shuttle the materials to his construction sites.

The director of leadership code at the Inspectorate of Government (IG), Ms Annet Twine, told Daily Monitor in an interview yesterday that they impounded the two trucks after a tip-off from their informers.

She said the Inspectorate’s officials then started tracking the movement of the two trucks until they impounded them in Wakiso and Buloba while carrying materials, and arrested the two drivers.

The construction materials which this newspaper has seen, include cement, nails, iron bars, and gravel.

“Mr Tukahirwa was arrested and interviewed on Wednesday, but was granted bond. He gave us enough information and we will proceed from there. Apparently, he is the one who instructed the two drivers to take the materials to his construction sites…” Ms Twine said.

She further noted that the IG investigators were by yesterday still grilling the two drivers over the matter.

However, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Health, Mr Emmanuel Ainebyona, downplayed the matter, saying the trucks were on an official duty.

“The trucks were on official duty delivering construction materials to a construction site of a community hospital. This has been explained to the authorities and is being handled administratively,” his text read.

But Ms Twine dismissed Mr Ainebyona’s response and revealed that the official confessed that the materials were being transported to his private site where he is setting up a school.

She said upon completion of the investigations, the matter will be referred to the Leadership Code Tribunal for adjudication.

Mr Tukahirwa couldn’t be reached for a comment yesterday.

The deputy Inspector General of Government (IGG), Patricia Achan Okiria, said one of the Inspectorate’s mandate is to enforce the leadership code as enshrined in the Constitution.

“So when you see the abuse of property like in the case of Mr Tukahirwa, we have taken over this case because we are sending a message out there so that citizens get to know their responsibilities and get to know that there is the Leadership Code Act, which outlines the offences and their penalties. If a public officer is entrusted with public property is supposed to take good care of it,” she said.

Leadership code

Section 12b of the Leadership Code Act, amended 2021 requires a public officer to protect and preserve public property. It prohibits using public property for any other purpose other than its authorised purpose.

According to the Leadership Code, a leader or a public officer who knowingly misuses or allows public property entrusted to his or her care to be misused or abused or left unprotected may, in addition to the sanctions be warned or cautioned, demoted or dismissed from office.