By Taddeo Bwambale & Conan Businge
THE education ministry, ‘New Vision’ has learnt, cautioned Fagil Mandy against proceeding with an ‘irregular process’ of recruiting Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) board’s executive secretary; even before the Inspector General of Government’s intervention.
Mandy, who is UNEB’s board chairperson, is under investigation by the IGG, Justice Irene Mulyagonja for allegedly abusing the process to replace Mathew Bukenya, whose contract ended last year.
Latest investigations show that, way back in December 2013, the ministry’s permanent secretary Dr. Rose Nassali Lukwago had declined to front one of the candidates Kendrace Turyagenda, as per Mandy’s request, and also warned him against what she termed an ‘irregular’ process.
Mandy, is reported to have to written an email to the education ministry’s permanent secretary, on November 19, 2013, requesting her to back Turyagenda for the job.
Dr. Nassali declined to back Turyagenda, stating that this would easily result in contention with the IGG’s office and ultimately undermine the candidate’s chances of getting the job.
In her directive, she said the inspectorate had received “numerous complaints” that Mandy had abused the recruitment process by handpicking the candidates for the job.
“Complaints have already reached my office that you as Chairman of the Board are directly involved in receiving applications, sorting them out and selecting candidates to be shortlisted for interviews as well as directly informing both successful and unsuccessful candidates of the outcome of the selection exercise,” she noted.
“I wish to remind you that your actions are not only irregular, but are also outside the board’s normal procedures and process of the recruitment policy as stipulated in the UNEB Act,” Nassali writes in her letter to Mandy dated December 9, 2013.
“In the matter of recruiting a successor to the current Executive Secretary, I wish to bring to your attention that there is already a succession plan that was approved by the Board which was chaired by Prof Lutalo Bbosa,” she added.
“I am therefore, advising you in retrospect to refer to the Minutes of that Board and implement the recommendations made therein on the succession of Mr. Mathew Bukenya. This will facilitate a smooth transfer of power, and continuity of the Board’s functions without any adverse disruptions,” the letter reads.
In the letter, Nassali cautioned Mandy on ensuring that that the integrity of the examination system and the Board ‘remains paramount.’
The IGG on January 15, 2014 directed the education minister, Jessica Alupo to halt the recruitment of a new UNEB Executive Secretary, citing a corruption.
Mandy, in the IGG’s letter to the minister, is accused of personally having drafted the advertisement for the vacancy, shortlisted the candidates and later contacted them, yet these are roles of UNEB’s human resources office; according to a letter from the IGG.
Among other allegations, Mandy is accused of setting up a committee to operate on behalf of UNEB, yet some of its members were not part of UNEB.
He is also reported to have fronted some candidates for the post, including John Bosco Ntangaare, whom he reportedly awarded ‘exorbitant' marks and declared new UNEB boss.
MANDY SPEAKS OUT
Mandy has since refuted reports of his alleged corrupt dealings at UNEB, claiming that the reports are being peddled by some people who are opposed to his methods of work.
Appearing on Bukedde TV’s Akabbinkano programme on Tuesday, Mandy acknowledged taking part in identifying UNEB’s next Executive Secretary, but denied engaging in acts of corruption.
He said all decisions regarding the recruitment process were approved by the UNEB Board which comprises 33 people. The Board, he explained, includes vice chancellors of all government universities, representatives of private universities, teacher training colleges and the public sector.
“I did not operate alone. When the Board learnt that Mr Bukenya was working yet his contract had expired five months earlier, we discussed it as a Board, consulted the minister and agreed to extend his contract for one year,” he said.
He agreed taking part in drafting the questionnaires and interviewing candidates stating that as head of the Board, he had to have a say in the person to lead UNEB.
He denied fronting Ntangaare for the job, maintaining that the candidate beat all the other candidates for the job. Mandy denied receiving bribes from any of the 53 applicants, but revealed he faced some pressure from one of the candidates.
Mandy defended his regular involvement in activities of UNEB, saying the Board agreed to expand its scope, ‘unlike other Boards that operate as though they are sitting on balloons.’
He disclosed that among other measures, the Board had instituted a human resource audit at UNEB and staff appraisals, to make the institution more efficient.
Mandy was installed as UNEB’s board chairperson on July 9, 2012.
This is the second part of the interview