Uganda Prisons Commissioner General, Johnson Byabashaija, says he doesn’t understand what the hullabaloo surrounding Bank of Uganda’s most expensive pens, is really about.
According to Byabashaija, the problem is not the cost of the pens but the fact that the central bank bought such a quantity-total of 350 pens.
The Shs125m pens with each going for atleast 357,000 bought for guests at the bank’s Golden Jubilee celebrations has raised a firestorm on social media.
A concerned Ugandan only identified as Capitano Emma [@capitanoemma] wrote: “Do we have a place in our prisons to accommodate someone who bought 350 pens for 125 million UGX each pen was bought 350,000shs.”
The pen I use is a Parker. I bought it 525k in Aristock Book shop. My problem would be the quantity bought at a time, but not the price.
— Johnson Byabashaija (@jbyabs) August 15, 2017
Emma tagged Byabashaija’s twitter handle @jbyabs in his tweet.
The prisons chief replied: “The pen I use is a Parker. I bought it 525k in Aristock Book shop. My problem would be the quantity bought at a time, but not the price.”
“Jesus of Nazareth, I need to look at it and believe that a pen can cost that money,” Emma expressed awe.
Byabashaija did not see what was shocking at all: “You welcome! Am in my third year with it.”
Emma: “A reason, it is expensive, no wonder officers saluting your handwriting.”
A one @DannyT_UG also pointed out: “I think the conversation on the #BOUpens should not be on the cost but on the management ethic. The pens exist #PoorMgtPoorerCommunities.”
— Danny T (@DannyT_UG) August 16, 2017
Senior journalist, Andrew Mwenda, said he doesn’t know what type of pens they are and their special purpose. “But Ugandans must ask why our central bank buys pens that cost Shs 357,000 each.”
According to documents quoted by NTV Uganda, the central bank used Shs125m to procure 350 branded rolling ball point pens for guests at the Golden Jubilee celebrations and the Joseph Mubiru memorial lecture.
— MTN Uganda (@mtnug) August 16, 2017
This is contained in a letter dated September 27, 2016 from the acting director of procurement, Gloria Tuhaise Wakoba. Wakoba quotes Aristoc booklex limited demanding Shs125m for the pens.
Bank of Uganda Communications Director, Christine Alupo, told NTV that the money was used not just to procure pens but also other memorabilia for the high profile local and international guests.