Mak Registrar Suspended Over Fraud Again

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In short
Makerere University has again suspended one of its registrars over over corruption related charges. This is after the anti-corruption Court charged Roy Margaret Etuusa Lubega with four counts of abuse of office.

Makerere University has again suspended one of it's registrars over over corruption related charges. This is after the anti-corruption Court charged Roy Margaret Etuusa Lubega with four counts of abuse of office.

Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, the Makerere University Vice Chancellor in his communication on Thursday to Etuusa asked the 55-year-old Deputy Academic Registrar in charge of Certificates, Ceremonies and Publications to immediately hand over all University property in her possession to the academic registrar, Alfred Namoah without fail.

"Having found that the matter you are required to defend yourself against before court of law is tantamount to a gross misconduct, you are hereby suspended from the Office of the deputy registrar of Makerere University in charge of Certificates, Ceremonies and Publications with immediate effect pending competition of criminal proceedings against you in the above mentioned court under Ref No. C0001-2018," Prof Nawangwe's letter states in part.

URN understands that on May 31st 2017, Dr. Fredrick Tanga Odoi, the Chairperson Makerere University Convocation, a body for staff and Alumnus requested Uganda Police to Investigate into allegations of Abuse of office in which Etuusa was largely involved.
 
Charles Mansio Twiine from the Criminal Investigations Department of the Uganda Police said in his January correspondence to the convocation chairperson that the Directorate had submitted the case file to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions for evaluation of evidence after the investigations were done.
 
Upon perusal, the DPP accordingly sanctioned and consented to the charges of Abuse of office against Etuusa, charging her of Abuse of Office contrary to section 11(1) of the Anti-Corruption Act 2009 as Amended.
 
Etuusa accordingly appeared in the Anti-corruption court on Monday January 8, 2018. According to the charge sheet assented to by Mike Chibita, the DPP on September 27th last year, Etuusa who is a resident of Lungujja, Rubaga North in Kampala will begin receiving half pay following her suspension until the four counts are disposed of.

In count one, Prosecution led by Muhumuza Edward said that on the 15th day of February 2017 at Makerere University, Etuusa abused her authority and did an arbitrary act prejudicial to the interests of her employer (Makerere University) when she contravened the procurement laws, regulations and procedures by irregularly procuring Exxon Contractors Limited to provide phone keeping services during the 67th Graduation Ceremony.

The company reportedly fleeced parents and graduands under the guise of securing their mobile phones and other gadgets. The company charged Shs3, 000 for each gadget placed under its custody.

In count two, prosecution alleges that Etuusa still on the same day of February 15, 2017 illegally procured JAALC Uganda Limited to provide food/drinks vending services during the 67th Graduation Ceremony.
 
In count three, Etuusa is also accused of illegally procuring one Juliet Mirembe to provide food/drinks vending services during the same graduation ceremony. She also accused in account three of flouting procurement laws, regulations and procedures by irregularly procuring one Milton Egayu to provide vending services during the 67th graduation ceremony.

What the Law says
Section 87 (1) of the Penal Code; Act 2007 Cap.120 on Abuse of office states that; "…A person who, being employed in a public body or a company in which the government has shares, does or directs to be done an arbitrary act prejudicial to the interests of his or her employer of any other person, in abuse of the authority of his or her office, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years…"
 
On a similar note, section 11 (1) of the Anti-Corruption Act 2009 states further that; "…A person who, being employed in a public body or a company in which the government has shares, does or directs to be done an arbitrary act prejudicial to the interests of his or her employer or any other person, in abuse of the authority of his or her office, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years or fine not exceeding one hundred and sixty eight currency points or both."
 
Quoting the law, Prof Nawangwe in his January 11, 2018 letter to Etuusa said her suspension was in line with Section 5.11 of the Makerere University Human Resources Manual 2009.
 
It stipulates that; "…An employee may also be suspended from duty on half pay where such an employee has been apprehended on account of an offence that requires investigations or charged in a court of law or remanded pending criminal proceedings…"
 
In addition, Section 5.11 of the Makerere University Human Resources Manual 2009 stipulates that; "…b) nothing in this regulation shall be construed as prohibiting or restricting the Appointing Authority or its delegate, the power to suspend such an employee.

c) Upon suspension, an employee shall be on half salary until acquitted. Suspension of an employee on half salary shall not extend later than the acquittal unless another charge is pending," Prof. Nawangwe stated.

While appearing before Grade One Magistrate Peter Fred Lachomin on Monday, Margaret Etuusa however denied the allegation, and was granted bail of Shs1 million cash with orders to deposit her passport and return to court on February 8, 2018.

Etuusa had returned to office last year following a High court order asking Makerere University management to reinstate her.

She had earlier been suspended in March last year on accusations of illegally hiring Exxon Contractors, a private company, to keep guests' electronic during the 67the graduation ceremony.

However, on petitioning the High Court challenging her suspension, Etuusa told court that she was never given a chance to defend herself.

She asked court to reinstate on the job and grant her an interim injunction blocking the university from pursuing any further disciplinary action against her. Court ruled in her favor and asked the university to reinstate her pending the disposal of her application.
 

 

About the author

Davidson Ndyabahika
Davidson Ndyabahika is a Journalism major from Makerere University and is passionate about investigative and data journalism with special interest in feature story telling.

He has gone through digital and multi-media training both at Ultimate Multimedia Consult, and has attended Data Journalism Sessions at ACME to enrich his capacity in data journalism.

Davidson has previously freelanced with The Campus Times, The Observer, Chimp reports and URN. He is currently reporting under Education. He is also passionate about reporting on environment, health, crime and political satire writing.

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