ABUSE OF OFFICE: Early this week, the country went on standstill as the Daily Monitor unveiled a recruitment scandal in the 22- year old Government of Uganda single electricity buyer -Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Ltd (UETCL). The story comes at the time when the country is grappling with a weak economy which has consequently forced Government of Uganda to rationalize its expenditure by effecting Mergers of some MDA’s.
This publication can authoritatively without fear of contradiction reveal that the contract between KPMG and UETCL to recruit 37 staff at 1bn Uganda Shillings took effect on 15 June 2023. This comes accurately in the first 100 days of Joshua Karamagi (CFA) – the current UETCL Managing Director who joined the institution on 1 March 2023 from Uganda Electricity Generating Company Ltd (UEGCL) where he served as the Chief Finance Officer.
Like the saying goes, a leader will be seen in his first 100 days, the writing is vivid on the wall, that the Govt of Uganda single bulk buyer & system operator is headed for tough times in its operations. The continued resurfacing of the entity into bad public light continues to pose numerous questions of whether the supervising and accountability entities are aware of the issues that continue to eat up this institution.
The spiral of scandals continue to impact the country’s donor funded projects. It’s not even a year since the Ministry of Finance Planning (MoFPED) & Economic Development and Ministry of Energy & Mineral Development (MEMD) made changes in the company Board of Directors and some of its top management. The bringing of the new board and members of management would have had a meaning if and only there was no reoccurrence of such scandals at the institution.
This publication has learnt that the recruitment contract between KPMG and UETCL was on the account of the company’s understaffed Human Resource Section and absence of a Human Resource Manager. Further scrutiny into this position by the entity, our publication has wisely learned that the UETCL HR Section is manned by 7 members & has got an acting HR Manager who currently steers the section.
KPMG (Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler) is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax & Advisory services.
Given the positions advertised, it’s very ambiguous to state that the company that is 22 -years old can’t manage a recruitment process of only 37 staff! Further appraisal of the contract detail, providing allowances of up to 241Millions for UETCL staff participating in the interviews was uncalled-for. One logical question that comes to mind of Ugandans is why the UETCL could find comfort to spend on staff who have got no competence to recruit on their own, on top of them earning the taxpayers salary every month.
A staff member who chose anonymity to this publication has revealed to us that even the ongoing recruitment is not geared at giving the UETCL staff the first advantage but rather to use them to qualify the process.
“We know some people who have qualifications and experience, but we’re not even shortlisted for interviews so how can the whole KPMG account for that?….”, a source that chose anonymity stated in shock.
The staff further added that because the MD came from UEGCL, he is only recruiting his former colleagues at the demerit of the existing staff at the UETCL. This position was further qualified by this publication as the current Manager PR has been a Brand & Public Relations officer at UEGCL. A move that has left many in the PR industry astonished as his qualifications and experience for a managerial job are a total mismatch.
This publication has further learned that KPMG was directly sourced by UETCL. In the publications endeavor to understand the circumstances under which an institution can go for direct sourcing, we spoke to a procurement specialist who clarified that, “it’s true the government company can do direct sourcing, but the PPDA Act is clear on this, that it must only be done when the service you want to procure is only being provided by one company. But this is not true for there many recruiting private companies in Uganda, He stated.
In a related discourse, the publication further interrogated the position of using KPMG recruitment contract with Ministry of Energy & Mineral Development (MEMD) to justify this transaction. For the fact that there was no public advert to this procurement, no competition was subjected to it, invalidates every logic being deployed to this defend this transaction.
This publication further confirms that this contract went up to the Solicitor General (SG) and it was cleared without without even raising any questions. This also leads us to interrogate the entire chain of contracting for it’s crystal clear that someone did not do their job.
This publication has further learned that one top official in UETCL has been confirmed without undergoing interviews. This further dilutes the claims that the company recruitment exercise is free, objective and fair to all staff who have been in acting capacity since November 2022. The act of confirming one Senior Top Manager by the UETCL Board is not only irregular but also to the extent illegal for it’s contradicts the PERD Act.
Also Read the Daily Monitor : https://www.monitor.co.ug/uganda/special-reports/uetcl-splashes-shs1b-to-hire-37-new-staff-4313640
Story to be continued.
By Watchdog Ug