As the saga surrounding the corruption scandal at Equal Opportunities Commission continues to deepen, interdicted Commission Chief Sylvia Ntambi wants to find a scapegoat for her woes.
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.
Ms Ntambi has been kicked out of her job and court summons to answer corruption related charges, are at her door steps.
Few people are sympathising with Ms Ntambi who evades to answer her responsibility in the charges levied against her.
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.
Below are some of the accusations laid down in a dossier penned by a Whistleblower to the Minister of Labour which would later land Ntambi in hot soup.
Diversion of Commission’s Funds:
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.
This act continued during Q2 and Q3 in which the fund was increased to UGX150 million.
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 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.
The petition states that;
“Your Excellency, using her powers, the Chairperson has directed payment of salary advances to herself. There are long outstanding Salary advances: of UGX 37,324,000/= paid on 04-03-2016 and UGX 40,356,000/= paid on 27-02-2017 paid to her. There was also payment in lieu of leave equivalent to UGX I3,276,400/=. These payments have since remained unrecovered and unaccounted for since FY 2016/17 to date due to her domineering instructions.
She also lured the then Acting Secretary to the Commission, Prof Sunday Nicholas Olwor to take salary advances of UGX 10,000,0001= on each of the occasions the Chairperson took advance. They have always appeared in the queries of the reports of the Auditor General as long outstanding receivables. Attempts to recover the advances have resulted into threats of termination by the Chairperson.
These are evident on the reports of Auditor general for FY 2016/17, 2017/18 as being long outstanding’ receivables.
The Chairperson directed that payment in lieu of notice of UGX 15,040,4641 to Ms Namunhana Annette the former Senior Human Resource Officer to Jjemba Evans. The said funds never reached the rightful the intended beneficiary.”
Ntambi is also accused of irregular approval of allowances/benefits to Members of the Commission.
“Your Excellency, in their instruments of appointment, the Members of the Commission are entitled to UGX 2 million of housing allowance per month; UGX2.4 million medical allowance per annum, a chauffeur driven car. For the chauffeured car the Commission provides fuel; the Chairperson gets 4m (while the other members get UGX 2.4m) per quarter loaded onto their fuel cards. The Chairperson and Members irregularly approved for themselves more fuel allowance of UGX 2.52 million per month which is paid to their individual bank accounts. This is never accounted for and is against instructions of PS/ST.”
Besides the allegations of self-enrichment, Ntambi is said to have unlawfully taken one of the Commission’s vehicles which she is using for personal use.
“The Chairperson grabbed one of the Commission vehicles, a Ford Ranger double cabin pick-up, registration number UG 0891B (formerly UAR 670Y). Since September 2017, this vehicle has been used to carry out private business. This is on top of her official allocated car UG 0839B.
The car is driven by an unknown driver, not employed by the Commission. The car has cost the Commission over UGX30 million annually in repair and maintenance,” the petition continues.
The Chairperson is also accused allegedly irregularly recruiting some staff basing on personal relations with recruits instead of merit.
Some of the staff that were regularly recruited include;
Betty Namazzi, who is the Research Officer:
There was no advert for the position, no application no interview; only a minute was produced to have her appointed. She was recruited against no available vacancy in the approved staff structure. Namazzi is a close relative to the Chairperson.
Juma Waira, Senior Education Officer:
He was irregularly recruited by Zamina Malole, a Member of the Commission, who chaired the interviewing panel. The two have a close blood relationship.
Petua Isabirye Babirye:
She was originally a junior volunteer at the Commission who metamorphosed into a Principal Education Officer. The said officer did not have the ‘requisite ‘experience according to the job description.
The officer is also believed to have a close relationship with Zamina Malole who was the Chairperson of the panel that interviewed Juma without declaring her interest in the matter. Effort by the IGG to trace the reports of the interview have been futile since they were destroyed.
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