Just last month, police arrested the Executive Director of the National Animal Genetic Resource Centre and Data bank (NAGRC & DB) Dr. Charles Lagu over allegations of fraud and abuse of office. He was charged jointly with Ezekiel Philip Mukanini, who also acts as his procurement officer, Director Nauruma holdings Emmanuel Rumanzi Kafute, and Olivious Komujuni,
The arrest resulted from the fact that the four with others still at large between October 2018 and January 2019 at NAGRC&DB offices in Entebbe and Kiruhura District, conspired to defraud government of over fifty four million shillings through a fictitious procurement of supply and delivery of 1000kg and 600kg of Chloris Gayana to Nshaara Ranch and Sanga field stations respectively.
I have been observing these issues happening at NAGRC for some time and I really wonder why some directors have become a problem to the setting of institutions in Uganda, I several times, Dr Lagu’s name has been always out in the media for the wrong reasons and this really makes some of us who are critical to suspect that there must be something happening at his institution.
On many occasions when the politics of institutions starts, you of course know there are some scandals that involve misuse of government resources. The coming of Afande Edith Nakalema was just similar to the coming of Jesus Christ on the universe because Jesus found a disorganized sinful world and he intervened by preaching and setting up an environment where people were humble, faithful, trustworthy and made sure that there was no corruption just like Nakalema is doing right now. The corrupt have been dealt with, prosecuted and the country is now secure from those that bring financial losses to it.
I have always told all my friends that if Nakalema had started this like years ago, we couldn’t be having any more corrupt officials just like the ones at NAGRC. Anyway back to NAGRC, I also read somewhere that several cows, goats, hens were missing from the farm that belongs to government and I wondered how one human being heading an institution can decide to have an everyday Christmas at his village pad while feasting on government live stock, donating some to whoever asked for contributions.
There is also something that is so annoying with Ugandans, last time I saw a group of these people who enjoyed the 20billion COVID money (West Nile Caucus) shouting and making a lot of noise in the presence of the press claiming their person has no case to answer, adding that he is the only one that they have in government as people of West Nile. This kept me thinking how some people think corruption can be fought by being tribal, so since he is the only person that they have, he is allowed to act contrally and cause government financial losses!!!
I remember in September 2018, during a Cabinet meeting chaired by President Museveni, there was a proposed merger as part of a mega reorganization plan which aimed at, realigning functions of agencies and preventing duplication of roles and waste of public funds. The responsibility to implement the plan was placed under the ministry of Public Service and everyone was happy to hear about the development because we all knew this could help sort this issue of government making losses on entities that are doing similar works of bigger agencies.
In this case, I will be talking about those that are supposed to be under the ministry of Agriculture. The National Agricultural Advisory Services (Naads), the Uganda Trypanosomiasis Control Council (UTCC), Dairy Development Authority (DDA), Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) and Cotton Development Organization (CDO) was to be sent back to the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries under the supervision of the minister of Agriculture who is Hon Sempijja.
According to the discussions on the mergers, it was noted that Agriculture presents immense opportunities for growth in other sectors and employs 60% of the citizens and so it was proposed to merge the National Animal Genetic Resource Centre and Data Bank with National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) into a single Agricultural research institution to retain the name NARO, since it embraces both animal and plant research.
Merging NARO and NAGRC was the best idea because we couldn’t be having such losses because NGRC is doing things that are meant to be done by NARO which is well established and has enough capacity to do all the work that is being done by a whole lot of a few corrupt officials. Now, let me be called an ignorant Ugandan but I should ask this; what is new that NAGRC does that is not being done by NARO?
Some of these agencies have become an embarrassing financial baggage that ought to be pruned down through merging and/or scrapping. With quite a number of them duplicating efforts, coupled with the economic realities of the day, the time has come for a re-visit to the cabinet decision that had suggested rationalization of agencies.
Globally, No country that takes itself seriously and which hopes to fight its way out of recession should sustain the number of irrelevant agencies that we still currently maintain in Uganda. This unhealthy culture breeds waste and serves as a mere state income consumer on the available scarce resources.
Just thinking my own things!!! How come that government has refused to trim down the number of agencies long after it became official that some of them are duplicates of others? How come we still have many different agencies doing the same thing called agricultural research?
As I wind up, I call on the government to act immediately and save the nation millions of shillings which is recklessly consumed through official corruption. It is not only when an individual or a group plays around with the books that acts of corruption are committed. Sustaining a playful sequence of money-wasting agencies is a definite case of corruption which needs to be dealt with. Our Government should take itself seriously by helping Col Nakalema by decreasing these wasteful agencies as this will give hope to the Uganda people by ensuring that the proper way of doing things is well-established.
Michael Woira is patriotic Ugandan
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