MPs probe stolen Makerere scheme cash

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Makerere vice chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe shows guests the burnt main building

A select House committee is to investigate the saga involving monies lost by the Makerere University Retirement Benefits Scheme (MURBS).

In a motion moved by Western Youth MP Hon. Mwine Mpaka, is premised on a 2010 disagreement between Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA) and the National Insurance Corporation (NIC), on the amount of liability which the insurance company owed to MURBS.

Mwine Mpaka informed MPs during the plenary sitting on Thursday, 01 October 2020 that the disagreement arose out of government’s divestiture of 60 per cent of its shares in NIC, resulting in the withdraw of MUASA’s savings from NIC.

According to the motion, the Makerere staff body sought President Yoweri Museveni’s intervention on the liability owed by NIC. The President tasked the Auditor General to ascertain the money owed to MUASA.

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“NIC paid to MUASA a sum of Shs10 billion pursuant to an interim agreement between NIC and MUASA, arrived at, at a meeting of NIC and MUASA chaired by H.E. President Museveni,” reads the motion in part.

Mwine Mpaka further told the House that a final audit report presented to the President on 06 July 2011, indicated that the actual valuation of the fund was estimated at Shs 26.7 billion, leaving a balance of Shs16.7 billion.

Owing to an unending impasse, President Museveni on 28 August 2011, directed the Finance Minister at the time, Hon. Maria Kiwanuka, to pay the Shs16.7 billion to MUASA from the Consolidated Fund, on behalf of NIC.

However, the university was tasked with recovering the money from the insurance company.

Following a court case to recover the money, Makerere University, MURBS and NIC entered into a consent agreement where NIC would transfer its Kampala property, a five-storey building worth Shs 8 billion, to the university.

The property comprised of LVR279, Folio 14, Plot 2A on Kampala Road.

According to Mwine Mpaka, there is no evidence to date, that the said property was transferred to Makerere University as agreed in the consent judgement; and that a balance of Shs 8.7 billion seems to be unaccounted for.

“The select committee should investigate the failure by Makerere University to pay back Shs 8.7 billion to the Consolidated Fund. We want to know whether the property agreed to be transferred in the consent judgment was transferred to Makerere University and if not, what the current status is,” said Mwine Mpaka.

Members of Parliament, however, expressed concern over the manner in which the consent agreement was arrived at.

Hon. Andrew Kaluya (Indep. Kigulu County South) said it was necessary to set up the select committee to investigate what he termed as an orchestrated sham out-of-court settlement, driven by the Makerere Vice Chancellor and his deputy.

“On the purchase of the building in question, the values did not match with the Shs16.7 billion and they did follow procurement guidelines. We need to investigate this case further so that we help government not to lose this money,” Kaluya said.

Hon. Veronica Bichetero (NRM, Kaberamaido County) supported motion for the select committee, nothing that it would go a long way in clearing the air on two of the country’s coveted institutions – NIC and Makerere University.

Ngora County MP, Hon. David Abala said that it was key to bring the individuals who could have mismanaged tax payers’ money to book.

“We should be concerned with why they abused the law and why they ignored standard procedures while handling this issue,” Abala said.

The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, committed to inform the House of the terms of reference and composition of the select committee at the earliest opportunity.

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