Igg Probes Shs9B Agric Schools Scam

Igg probes shs9b agric schools scam
Appeared in The Daily Monitoron 02 Oct 2021

The Inspectorate of Government is investigating a case involving unnamed government officials who wired about Shs9b worth of taxpayers money to two closed agriculture institutions during Covid-19 lockdown.

The funds in question were sent to Fisheries Training Institute Entebbe, and Bukalasa Agricultural College Wobulenzi, Luweero District, to cater for students’ feeding expenses and other infrastructure development projects.

After reading the Daily Monitor scoop yesterday, the Inspector General of Government (IGG), Ms Beti Kamya, called this newspaper to confirm investigations into the disbursements, and revealed that the disbursements branded by a whistle-blower as “fictitious expenditures” were reported to her office. She didn’t disclose when the matter was reported to the IGG.

“This is a matter we are already investigating…we received confidential documents from a whistle-blower and we are studying them before we take the next step,” Ms Kamya said.

“We intend to leave no-stone unturned as far as this matter is concerned. We want to know how closed schools received public funds during lockdown. Who budgeted for the money? Who received it and for what? The plan is to gather as much information as possible, connect the dots and ask the hard questions about the release of the funds in question.”

Ms Kamya told Saturday Monitor that at the tail end of investigations, the suspects she didn’t name will be summoned to explain the motivation of sending billions of shillings to the closed institutions.

Ms Kamya also revealed that officials from Fisheries Training Institute Entebbe and Bukalasa Agricultural College Wobulenzi would be asked to record statements.

“We don’t have all information yet but this looks like a racket. We are going to dig up the truth and once we get the evidence, the culprits will be arrested and arraigned in the anti-corruption court,” Ms Kamya said.

“Our anti-corruption strategy is very clear. We want to kill two birds with one stone: Clean-up the inspectorate as we deal with the backlog and emerging cases like the one involving Shs9b in the Agriculture ministry. We want the corrupt to refund public funds and we will use the law to confiscate ill-gotten wealth. This is what is going to restore public confidence, improve service delivery and invigorate the war against graft.”

Ms Kamya asked citizens to join the fight against corruption in private and public offices, and asked officials in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that might know other government institutions used as conduits to siphoned public funds, to volunteer information.

Responding to Daily Monitor investigation, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Maj Gen David Kasura-Kyomukama, explained: “The ministry is not aware of any reported cases of misuse of funds. However, since the emergence of the story, management has tasked the relevant offices to look into the matter.”

He added: “We remain committed to upholding the strictest standards of accountability for public resources and punishing those found guilty of misappropriating them. We, therefore, call upon the public to report any suspected misuse of public resources to the relevant authorities both within the ministry and the other statutory bodies charged to do this.”


Daily Monitor investigation

The paper reported that Shs83m, Shs80m, Shs73.4m, Shs82m and Shs8.4m were wired to Fisheries Training Institute’s accounts on December 4, 2020, for review of diploma in boat building and marine mechanics, diploma in fisheries management and technologies, certificate in agriculture and diploma in agriculture, animal industry and fisheries courses.

At Bukalasa Agricultural College, Shs40m was sent in three instalments on May 10 for industrial trainings, and a day later, Shs96m was disbursed to procure stationery and instructional materials alongside Shs240m to “renovate livestock farms”.

On March 10, officials transferred Shs380m for “settlement of students’ feeding bills” and topped it up on the same day with Shs141m meant for Institute of Fisheries’ perimeter fencing works, refills and painting of lecture rooms and blocks.

In addition, Shs159m was on March 10 allocated for “repair of the main gate and upgrading of on-campus driveways to bitumen, another Shs158m was disbursed on the same day for sewerage and drainage systems repairs, and Shs140m and Shs63m for gabion reinforcement and surface water drainage and for aquaculture unit and hatchery, respectively.