The Electoral Commission [EC] has sacked eight of its senior officials over corruption accusations relating a ballot printing bid from a German firm, Veridos Identity Solutions GMBH.
They are; Sam Rwakoojo, the accounting officer who doubles as the Secretary to the Electoral Commission, Director Finance & Administrator Joseph Lwanga, Godfrey Wanyoto (head of procurement); Jotham Taremwa (public relations officer); Namugera Pontius (Information Technology director), Jordan Lubega (Administrator networks); Musuza Charles and Edgar Kasigwa (data specialists).
In 2016, the German firm signed a joint venture with Uganda Printing & Publishing Corporation (UPPC) to print money and handle other security printing deals.
Daily Monitor reported that Rwakoojo and team were asked to give the ballot printing deal to UPPC and in the process of verification, they discovered Veridos has a big stake in the company and the same German firm had successfully won a bid to transmit the poll results.
The EC officials then wrote back to Veridos asking for details of ownership and expenditures of the company.
In the process, President Museveni also reportedly wrote to EC that the company has a bigger reputation beyond printing ballot papers, and is tasked with printing the national currency, passports and handling data verification for the country’s national ID.
The procurement team then evaluated the bid and rejected it.
The matter later went to the State House Anti-corruption Unit and IGG, with the EC officials accused of corruption.
Monitor also reported irregularities in the procurement of an EC warehouse at a cost of Shs16.8b.
In the petition to IGG, the warehouse was procured using “sheer might” and that the procurement was queried at every stage but somehow the deal went through.
The IGG is also investigating millions of shillings spent on consultancy services for the development of an Electoral Commission communication strategy, payment to Promote Uganda Ltd to do a documentary on the history of elections in Uganda and expenditure of Shs290m to undertake PR and Media campaigns at regional level to enhance public trust and confidence in the electoral process for 2020/2021.
Although the affected EC officials and other didn’t want to go on record, some who talked to this newspaper in confidence, confirmed the story and reacted with consternation.
They blamed their woes on office politics anchored on invisible faction fights between pro-Museveni people and pro-former premier Amama Mbabazi cliques.
The Inspectorate of Government (IG) confirmed receipt of a petition dated January 18 in which a whistleblower detailed cases of abuse and corruption at the national electoral body.
The IG spokesperson, Munira Ali, confirmed investigation into corruption accusations brought against the EC officials.
She, however, clarified that the Inspectorate didn’t have a hand in the sacking of the eight EC officials since the IGG investigations are on-going.