The former education ministry Permanent Secretary Nassali and three others are battling fraud charges
The Inspector General of Government (IGG) has said that investigations into the disappearance of sh33.8m belonging to the Ministry of Education are complete.
However, the Anti-Corruption Court is yet to fix the hearing date of the case involving Judicial Service Commission (JSC) secretary, Dr Rose Lukwago Nassali and three others.
The former education ministry Permanent Secretary Nassali, Dr Opio Okiror, Jaffer Kawooya and Cuthbert Kagabo, are battling fraud charges in connection with over-payment of sh33.8m to consulting firm AH Consulting Limited. The prosecution alleges that this caused financial loss to the education ministry.
Kawooya, who was an auditor in the education ministry, is now the Ministry of Public Service internal auditor while, Okiror, who was the former commissioner of health services and human resource management in the education ministry, is now the head of human resource in the Judiciary.
Meanwhile, Kagabo, is the deputy director of AH Consulting, which provides consulting services to solve client's challenges in public and private sectors.
On Monday, the Chief Magistrate, Pamela Lamunu directed IGG prosecutor, Hassan Walusimbi to disclose to the defence team documents they intend to use as evidence during the trial since investigations are complete.
“You should serve the defence team with documents and you agree on facts in order to save courts time, then I will set a date for the hearing,” she directed.
The magistrate said she would set the date for hearing on November 12, after the parties agree on the facts of the case.
IGG prosecutor, Walusimbi told the court that he would serve the documents to the defence team by this week.
Immediately after court proceedings, Nassali reported to her office at JSC, following the renewal of her contract by the head of Public Service and Secretary to Cabinet, Dr John Mitala. President Yoweri Museveni approved it.
However, according to Walusimbi, the IGG Irene Mulyagonja, has written to Mitala to interdict her, pending the determination of the court case.
All of Nassali’s co-accused have been interdicted from their jobs. However, one of them, Kawooya, is challenging his interdiction at the Civil Division of the High Court in Kampala.
Procedurally, if you are interdicted, you are entitled to half-pay (salary), until the case has been concluded.
The four staff were hired to work under the $74.44m (about sh275.4b) African Development Bank (AfDB) Higher Education Science and Technology (HEST) V project in the education ministry.
Uganda and AfDB signed a $74.44m loan agreement on July 5, 2013, for the support to the HEST V project.
The first component of the project was to improve and expand HEST at six public universities and two-degree awarding tertiary institutions.
The funding, among others, included the construction of lecture rooms, laboratories, technology workshops, information and communications technology (ICT) laboratories, libraries with virtual capabilities, external civil works and utilities expansion.
It also involves equipment procurement, installation and operation and maintenance.
The funding includes training for laboratory technology, agriculture mechanization and learning equipment, ICT infrastructure, equipment, e-learning programmes for the training institutions, software and training.
The money is also meant to build capacity in HEST public institutions, improve the institutions’ quality and relevance. AfDB contributed $67m, while the Government and beneficiary institutions were to contribute $7.44m.
The prosecution alleges that in the financial year 2014/2015 at the education ministry headquarters in Kampala, Kawooya, Nassali, Okiror and Kagabo, in the performance of their duties, unlawfully paid AH Consulting, well knowing their actions would cause a financial loss.
Nassali is also facing charges of abuse of office, where it is alleged that as the accounting officer at the education ministry, she contracted AH Consulting to recruit five technical staff, although she was aware that the said staff had already been recruited.
It is alleged that Okiror, while at the ministry in 2014, as a contract manager for the AfDB project, abused his office when he arbitrarily contravened the responsibilities of the contract manager.
Okiror allegedly failed to ensure that AH Consulting met all the terms of the contract to recruit staff for the AfDB project