Top Makerere leaders are once again in the spotlight following allegations that they have been colluding to swindle university funds.
The leaders in question are the Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, and the chairman University Appointments Board, Mr Bruce Kabaasa Baraba, who are accused of covering up leaders who are personalizing university property and earning from it
The allegations are raised by Makerere University chief custodian Elias Nuwagaba in a letter that has stirred debate among the university’s top leadership.
“First and foremost, our top leaders have intentionally covered mafia who are swindling university money in all ways,” reads in part the letter by Mr Nuwagaba, who was formerly the personal assistant to the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration.
According to Mr Nuwagaba, Mr Kabaasa hires out the university main hall to individuals at a cost of Shs2m per day and then pockets the money. He also said Mr Kabaasa runs a private project under the names of University Forum in the Main Hall yet it does not pay money to the university.
“This project hosts three or two functions a month. To my disappointment, funders of the project facilitate him but he pockets the money and uses the main hall free of charge,” Nuwagaba alleges.
He adds that he raised concerns to Prof Nawangwe when he was still a Deputy Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration but the latter ignored him.
“I think he was already eyeing the higher office. Surprisingly when I kept pushing, I was instead transferred and demoted,” Nuwagaba says.
He adds that it is because of these financial anomalies that the University Bursar, Augustine Tamale, resigned. Tamale resigned last month after serving about 5 years in the office, citing personal reasons.
However, when contacted, both Prof Nawangwe and Mr Kabaasa denied the allegations and accused Mr Nuwagaba of sour graping after he was demoted.
The Vice Chancellor said the allegations are ridiculous. “We even found that he himself had mismanaged some units under his authority. He has some cases to answer,” Prof Nawangwe said.
On his part, Mr Kabaasa denied ever using university property for his personal business. He said the only time he used the Main Hall for when he was chairman convocation and that it was for university activities. He added that Nuwagaba was transferred after the university leadership found that his position as personal assistant to the Deputy Vice Chancellor was no longer existent and phased it out. This, he said, is what frustrated Nuwagaba and he is taking it personal.
Makerere University has over the last months been in the spotlight over many scandals ranging from financial mismanagement to sex for favours among teaching staff. Others issues include “draconian polices” of unjustified tuition increment, abolition of meals from halls of residents and scrapping of evening classes.