POLICE investigations into the collapse of the sh2b Makerere University perimeter wall in 2006 have been completed. The investigations reveal that Prof David Bakibinga former deputy vice-chancellor sanctioned the money for construction of the wall.
The investigations were carried out by criminal investigations directorate officials attached to the public accounts committee. Several issues were highlighted. Bakibinga represented the university in implementing the project.
Not only did the cost of the construction spiral out of control, the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Act (PPDA) was not followed in the procurement of materials and consultancy service. Complant Engineering and Trade was awarded the contract to build the wall at a cost of sh619m which, however, shot to sh2b. By the time the wall collapsed, sh126m had been used.
The directorate deserves compliments for its investigations which have brought the new facts to light.
Earlier investigations by the PPDA had recommended that Bakibinga be held accountable, but the university council exonerated him and instead dismissed the estates manager and four other officials. However, it has now emerged that 57 shareholders of Technology Consults (TECO), the firm that first investigated the matter earlier, are lecturers in the Faculty of Technology at Makerere University.
Clearly, there are some inconsistences that must be reviewed. Makerere is crippled by debts. For several years it has been running a deficit budget and has domestic arrears amounting to over sh26b. This sad state of affairs can be attributed to many reasons, including gross mismanagement, underfunding and corruption.
The report on Bakibinga and the wall saga should be forwarded to the Directorate of Public Prosecution as soon as possible. The new vice-chancellor, Prof Venansius Baryamureeba should start by reviewing inconsistent practices at Makerere to turn its fortunes around.
Prof Bakibinga should be held accountable