The latest information reaching our desk reveals that President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is in shock after receiving intel that the Minister for Presidency Milly Babalanda has been cited in an Shs7 billion scandal involving the government printers- Uganda Printing and Publishing Company (UPPC).
According to our sources, the minister is accused of siphoning Shs7 billion from a Kenya Commercial Bank account that had been fixed to buy printing machines for the UPPC.
According to an internal source, UPPC had been saving the money to purchase the said machines, however, the Minister expelled the Board in 2021 and took over management and procurement roles.
While performing the two roles illegally, the source maintains that the Minister depleted the UPPC coffers.
“She signed out the money, the account is empty at the moment,” the source claimed.
On 2nd July 2021, the UPPC banked Shs 529 million to the account, earlier in March that year, the agency had banked Shs600 and Shs521m respectively.
It has also been established that the UPPC had also banked Shs3b in May and Shs4.5billion the month before.
It should be noted that in August 2021, Minister Babalanda abruptly issued a directive temporarily suspending the activities of the board of governors at the government printers.
Before the directive, CID operatives had swung into action and arrested Prof David Wasswa on allegations of fraud and financial mismanagement.
In response, the Board members accused the Minister of sinister plans, claiming that sacking them without any right to hear is not only fishy but selfish.
These claim that the minister was already “biased”.
In a letter to the Minister, the Attorney General advised that the minister should not violate the rules of Natural Justice that dictate that affected members of the board be granted a right to a fair hearing.
However, Minister Babalanda did not heed the advice, insisting on firing the board members and replacing them with James Tweheyo just six (6) days later.
A report from the Auditor General found the Minister culpable for usurping the roles of the board, adding that in the period the board was absent, “there was no one to check the actions of management”.
The Auditor General also notes that the Minister acted in an oversight role during the period the Board was absent.
The source confirms that during the period, the Minister made massive recruitment into UPPC hence swelling the salary burdens on the payroll, which in turn cost UPPC financial loss.
As a result of such actions, therefore, Babalanda has been consequently summoned by the Parliament’s Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) to explain the circumstances under which she
signed on finance documents as well as the appointment letter of the acting managing director of UPPC.
It is clear that the Minister was doing both roles outside the law, hence COSASE wants to understand the motive behind it.
Efforts to talk to minister Babalanda were futile as her known phone numbers were not going through by press time.(NP)