Fort Portal Muncipality Foils Plan To Embezzle UGX 135 Million

2470 Views Fort Portal, Uganda

In short
At least two Fort Portal Municipal officials are in trouble for attempting to defraud the municipality of of 135 million shillings.

At least two Fort Portal Municipal officials are in trouble for attempting to defraud the municipality of of 135 million shillings.
The implicated officials are Michael Karwani, the deputy town clerk and the Catherine Asiimwe, the municipal procurement officer.
Karwani and Asiimwe are accused of illegally awarding a contract and inflating the cost of murram, the most common form of laterite material used in the construction of dry-weather roads.
The contract was for upgrading municipal roads including Kuku-Karamaga, Bukwali-Kitumba, Kahungabunyonyi and Winyi Kasaija. The illegal contract was awarded to the KAGU Construction Company, without the knowledge of the town clerk, municipal engineer and the municipal contracts and procurement committees.
Last week, the municipal council passed a resolution giving powers to the town clerk to release funds worth 135 million shillings for purchasing murram for the four roads. The council also gave a go ahead to the contracts committee to look for contractors. However, it’s alleged that Karwani and the procurement chief planned to use the funds to purchase murram for only one road.
The officials also went ahead and awarded the contract to KAGU. The fraudulent deal was unearthed when the contractor went to the office of the town clerk demanding for half payment to enable him start work.
In a telephone interview, Edward Lwanga, the Town Clerk, told Uganda Radio Network that he was shocked when the contractor approached him demanding for the money and yet the tender hadn’t been awarded to anybody. According to Lwanga, his deputy took advantage of his absence and sneaked into his office and stole the official stamp which he used on the documents to award the tender. 
Lwanga says that it was agreed that in a bid to cut costs, the 135 million shillings should be used to purchase murram for the four roads.
This morning, Asaba Ruyonga, the Mayor Fort Portal, convened an impromptu meeting of municipal technical staff and political leaders in his office and reported to them the matter. Ruyonga accused the technical staff of engaging in corruption tendencies. Ruyonga cited cases where members of the technical staff have in the past been implicated in shoddy deals like the stalled municipal council chambers.
During the meeting it was unanimously agreed that the illegal contract that was awarded be cancelled and disciplinary action be taken against the two officials. Ruyonga questioned why Karwani didn’t follow the right procedures. He claims that the officials wanted to take the money with no work done.
Lwanga told Uganda Radio Network that he also asked the district Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Department (CIID) to investigate the two officials.


About the author

Emmanuel Kajubu
Emmanuel Kajubu is proud to have been the first Ugandan journalist to write in depth pieces about the Tooro Kingdom institution. His knowledge of the inner workings of the Tooro Kingdom is what made him privy to the splits in the royal family. These splits almost challenged Tooro Omukama Oyo Nyimba Iguru's reign.

Culture, agriculture and the environment are just two areas of many of interest to Kajubu. As long as he has held a pen, Kajubu has also written about public policy, health and crime.

Kajubu is keen on impacting his society not just as a writer but also a trainer and mentor. Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts fall under his docket. Kajubu has been a URN staff member since 2008.