The President of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni has dropped troubled Sylivia Muwebwa Nabatanzi Ntambi and appointed Safia Jjuko Nalule as new Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) Chairperson.
According to a letter addressed to the Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, the president also appointed Mr. Ojok Joel Cox as Vice Chairperson while Denis Tumusime, Zaidi Ibrahim Edema and Sr. Mary Wasagali have been appointed as members of the commission.
“In exercise of the powers vested in the President by Article 32 (3) of the 1995 Constitution and Section 5(1) & (2) of the Equal Opportunities Commission Act, I have appointed persons below as Chairperson, Vice Chairperson and Members of the Equal Opportunities Commission, respectively ” the President said in a letter to the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga.
“I hereby forward their names and curriculum vitae for parliamentary approval.”
In February this year, Museveni declined to renew Ntambi’s contract which expired on 19th January 2021.
In a letter dated February 19, to the Under Secretary Finance and Administration, Equal Opportunities Commission, Mr Kibenge directed that since Ntambi and some of her colleagues’ contract expired and are still waiting for the President’s action on the tenure of the commission on whether to extend its mandate or appoint a new one, it was prudent that the affected individuals handed over the office.
The contracts for the EOC commissioners, including the chairperson, expired in January and the President has not communicated his decision on whether or not he will renew some of them. Three commissioners including Ms Ntambi are, however, eligible to be reappointment for another five-year- term. The other two commissioners are not eligible for reappointment.
According to Kibenge, the commissioners were supposed to hand over office on February 5 but this ceremony was postponed.
“All Members of the Commission, with the exception of Mr. Ojuko. should he contacted to immediately hand over to you the offices, official documentation and assets in their possession as we await responses from the authorities quoted above,” Mr Kabenge said.
“For clarity, Mr. Ojuko’s hand over should be deferred until the Solicitor General responds to our request for his opinion, although our considered view is that he cannot unilaterally constitute and exercise any of the powers of the Commission. Hopefully, the issue of either appointment of new Members or the Solicitor General’s opinion on this matter will be resolved as soon as possible. In the same vein Ms. Jane N. Ekapu, hitherto caretaking the Office of Secretary to the Commission, should also hand over to you. You will execute responsibilities of this Office until a new Commission is in place or advised otherwise. You may wish to temporarily re-assign some responsibilities to staff you have in post to facilitate smooth flow of business. Please do not hesitate to consult with myself, and/or with the Hon. Minister through my Office, on any matter that will help the uninterrupted running of the Commission’s business during this interim period,” he added.
By then, Ntambi was battling corruption charges and abuse of office at the anti-corruption court in Kololo which were later dropped by the DPP
The charges were dropped on the grounds of lack of sufficient evidence from the State House Anti Corruption Unit.
Ntambi was accused of fraud and of superintending over unethical practices that have seen staff polarised along tribal lines.
It is alleged that between November 2018 and April 2019 at EOC offices in Kampala District, Mugabe, Mujuni, Jjemba, and Ntambi being employed in the commission in their respective positions conspired to defraud the government of Shs35 million and more than Shs9.4 million between January and April 2019.
Since she became the chairperson of the commission, it was alleged that Ntambi unfairly dismissed over 11 staff, terminated over 10 staff contracts.
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.
Ntambi was jointly accused with nine other former employees of the commission who were interdicted after they were charged.