The ongoing commission of inquiry into Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has been told that Mark Kamanzi, the former executive director now on suspension, requisitioned and got 40,000 US dollars long after he had been replaced.
Kamanzi, the former director for legal and corporate affairs, replaced Moses Mapesa as acting executive director after a series of rapid promotions in months. Mapesa had himself been suspended by a board appointed by then tourism and trade minister, Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire.
The commission is probing the mismanagement of a 100-billion-shilling Protected Areas Management and Sustainable Use – PAMSU project.
The money was a grant from the World Bank with counterpart funding from the government aimed at building tourism infrastructure and services in 10 national parks and 12 wildlife reserves.
It emerged that Kamanzi was rapidly promoted as acting director, then immediately confirmed as director only to be promoted as acting executive director. Former trade minister, Kahinda Otafiire suspended him when he had already been seconded by the UWA board to become the substantive executive director.
Otafiire suspended Kamanzi in December 2010 and replaced him with Andrew Seguya. Interestingly, Kamanzi reportedly declined to hand over office to Seguya and defiantly continued to act as the executive director.
Emmanuel Olaunah Ourum, the under secretary in the tourism and trade ministry, told the commission that they received a letter signed by Kamanzi requesting for 40,000 dollars yet he was no longer the acting executive director.
Ourum said the permanent secretary endorsed the letter and forwarded it to the finance ministry for payment not aware that Kamanzi was acting irregularly behind Seguya’s back.
The under secretary admitted that the letter and the payment was irregular and smacked of insubordination, that is why the minister immediately ordered a probe into Kamanzi’s actions.
Ourum, who headed the probe team, says they had made a number of recommendations which he declined to reveal on record but that before the minister could act on them he was shifted to the ministry of justice and constitutional affairs.
He expressed ignorance about what the money was used for and whether there was value for money, arguing that theirs was to determine whether there was irregularity in the matter.
Ourum also disclosed that Kamanzi took an eight-day trip to the United Kingdom but returned after just four days and never accounted for the remaining four days.
On the payments made to a World Bank consultant, Johnson Natalie, from the project funds, Ourum confirmed that Natalie was actually paid by the project.
This contradicts the World Bank’s claims that the bank solely footed Natalie’s allowances, suggesting she got double payment from both the World Bank and the project.
Ourum also admitted that as a ministry they failed to supervise the project to ensure value for money.
The probe chairman, retired Supreme Court judge, George Kanyeihamba said it is pathetic that well-intentioned money was simply swindled with impunity.
uganda wildlife authority