An Adhoc committee set up by the university in 2018 to investigate the fraud has recommended disciplinary action against the officers who allegedly mismanagement the procurement process that led to the direct loss of Shillings 128.5million.
Students walk from the Kyambogo University Senate Building
Four top officials of Kyambogo University are
in trouble for causing financial loss in a fraudulent academic transcript and
certificate procurement deal.
They are Charles
Okello, the University Secretary, Dr. John Okuonzi, the Director Directorate of
ICT Support (DICTS), Dr. Peter Obanda, a senior lecturer and former head of the
Contracts Committee and Richard Muhanguzi, the Procurement officer.
Also implicated in the scam is the late Dr. Peter Okello, the
former Acting Kyambogo University Academic Registrar. An Adhoc committee set up
by the university in 2018 to investigate the fraud has recommended disciplinary
action against the officers who allegedly mismanagement the procurement process
that led to the direct loss of Shillings 128.5million.
The group is said to have colluded in the procurement and
subsequent acquisition of 20,000 pieces of “papers” for transcripts and 15,000
pieces of “papers” for certificates from Transpaper (U) Limited at over Shillings
The Nkrumah Road based company that deals in office
equipment, stationary and consumables, Paper, paper products and packaging
materials charged Kyambogo University Shillings 7,500 for each transcript paper
totaling to Shillings 150Million. The
company also supplied each piece of certificate paper at Shilling 12,000
totaling to Shillings 180Million.
papers were meant for printing academic
transcripts and certificates for the 2017 graduates. The Professor Benon Basheka-led Probe committee observed that
both the papers supplied for the transcript and the certificates were the same
despite the difference in the unit price charged by the supplier.
University Council sanctioned the probe committee at its 78th sitting of
November 12, 2018 following a series of complaints and rumors of fraudulent
procurements by a section of staff. The committee comprised Aloysius Ivan Kalanzi, Fredrick
Sentomero, Dr. Florence Bakibinga Sajjabi and Dr. Joseph Okecho.
comparative cost analysis of transcripts and certificates by other prequalified
service providers show that Kyambogo officials settled for the highest bidder
in the deal. For instance, a transcript paper from Graphics System Limited
cost Shillings 7,080 and Shillings 5,959 for a certificate, which would make a
total of Shillings 230million.
Another firm Corporate Gifts Ltd quoted Shillings.
6,077 for a single transcript paper and Shillings 6,077 for a certificate
paper, which would bring an overall total of Shillings 212.6million, had the
company taken the deal. Smith & Ouzman, a UK-based Security printing
firm that had been supplying certificates and transcripts at Kyambogo
University for years quoted Shillings. 5,111 as a unit cost of a transcript
paper and Shillings 6,565 for the certificate paper. This would bring the total
to Shillings 200.7million.
The committee, supported by Daniel Nangalama, the University
Chief Auditor, Alex Kizito, a Senior Internal Auditor and Lydia Ssekakoni
unearthed fraud that implicated a chain of university officials. The highly
guarded report was prepared for the University Council’s discussion and action
at the close of 2019.
URN accessed a copy of the 93-page report that confirms the
procurement was not properly initiated and didn’t receive sufficient
participation of the members of the user unit, the academic registrar. The report found that the implicated
university officials never demonstrated commitment to ethics and protection of
the university image.
“The University Managers and supervisors never ensured that
University activities and processes under their jurisdiction were properly
supervised, monitored and controlled in order to achieve procedural compliance,
high productivity and eliminate process errors and fraudulent schemes,” reads the
report in part.
URN has established that there were huge errors printed on
the university’s academic transcripts arising out of procedural flaws, which
the probe committee unanimously, says grossly impacted the university
reputation, stakeholder concerns, market confidence and financial loss.
The staff apparently utilized regulation 7(2) (a) of the
Contracts Act 2014 which; “allows the accounting officer to sign a contract without a decision of
Contracts Committee, where the Contracts Committee is unable to meet.”
John Okuonzi (Director ICT)
According to the report, Dr. Okuonzi, was accountable for
causing financial loss by providing wrong information and irregularly changing
the specifications without approval of Senate, the University’s Chief Academic
Organ. The report implicates him for having acted negligently as a
procurement manager, when he cleared the paper quality, and thus advertently
usurped the role of the process owners.
“Dr. John Okuonzi was at the center of the procurement and
processing of transcripts and certificates for the 2017 graduates right from
initiation to its end. He usurped the powers and roles of other players in the
process, thus leaving them to operate at the peripheral of their core
mandates,” reads the report in part.
The report indicates that during Dr. Okuonzi’s interface with
the probe committee, he disclosed that his actions were driven by the desire
for innovation and research agenda, and that the mistakes were part of
The committee observed that Dr. Okuonzi caused financial loss
after he superintended the ICT operations and outsourced printing services,
single handedly, although he claimed, there was too much pressure to produce
transcripts within too short a time. The probe team however
insists that Dr. Okuonzi should take responsibility, since he isolated himself
from the rest of the key players mandated by law in the processes he handled.
"The ICT operations and printing experienced technical lapses
and system errors leading to issues like; the printing of the same date of
birth, failed to mark “RT” [for Retake] against the papers that had been
retaken, printing of certificate when the toner was very low and in some cases
spilling and running of toner while printing certificates and transcripts. This
printing was not done in a professional manner,” says report.
Muhanguzi (Procurement Officer)
The Senior Procurement Officer is also implicated in the
collusion for fraud for his alleged failure to scrutinise and instruct his
junior officers to crosscheck the details in Dr. Okuonzi’s justification letter
for the supply firm. “If he did, the deceitful information would have been
detected and proper advice rendered to the accounting officer,” reads the
Muhanguzi, buy nature of his position as the head of the
Procurement Disposal Unit of the University is the custodian and advisor in
regards to the University’s procurement. The Probe team however rules him as having “acted
incompetently and negligently when he acted on the justification letter from
Dr. John Okuonzi.”
The report contends that Muhanguzi failed to do a cost
analysis of the firms, failed to prepare bidding documents and awarded the
contract for supply of the papers before preparation of Local Purchase Order
(L.P.O) and that he equally failed to provide professional advice to the
accounting office as mandated to enable him make correct decisions.
“…this being a procurement of ‘Paper’ he
[Muhanguzi] ought to have examined what paper and what is special about the
paper and why there was a single supplier, since paper is the one of the
supplies routinely procured by entities,” reads in part the report.
Adding that; “As a convener of Contracts Committee, he failed
to prepare appropriate documentation or remind the Chairperson of the Contracts
Committee to call to table the procurement paper during the contract committee
sittings that were convened during the period under review.”
Peter Obanda (Contracts Committee Chairperson)
The probe team describes Dr. Obanda’s role as having been a
gatekeeper over the procurement processes given that all major decisions
revolved around him as chairperson of the committee before execution.
The committee faulted him of solely relying on the procurement
officer and director ICT, yet he had been the head of contracts committee for
years, with the requisite experience to permit him have judgment as a
gatekeeper; “to soberly consider procurement matters without pressure and other
competing interests in order to do his work independently.”
The report faults him of letting his guard down by failing to
ask important questions during the process. “The committee finds him culpable since he failed to bring
this procurement subject to the Contracts Committee meetings. …exceeded his
mandate and completed the procurement process in contravention of the
instrument appointing him as a chairperson without sufficient evaluation and
scrutiny of the procurement by full contracts committee,” says report.
Okello (University Secretary)
This senior member of Management in charge of safeguarding
the University’s Assets was implicated for having neglected his role when he
approved the procurement form requests that had incomplete information about
the availability of funds and subsequently communicated the award of contract.
It is said Okello cleared the L.P.O on November 30, 2017 and
communicated to service provider Transpaper (U) Ltd without a properly
documented decision of the Contracts Committee and approval of the Solicitor
The accounting officer on the same day, November 30, 2017
appointed Peter Okello (the late, former Academic Registrar) and Dr. John
Okuonzi as contract managers for the supply of the consumables on which to
print the transcripts and certificates.
The committee however observes that the said decision to
procure the transcript papers occurred, six months after reporting on duty and
was initially involved in handover procedures, before settling in to perform
his duties fully as the accounting officer.