KAMPALA — Allegations of impropriety against the National Water & Sewerage Corporation Managing Director, Dr. Silver Mugisha have been dismissed as “cheap propaganda”, after word made rounds that he is headed for the sack just because his wife, Mrs. Annet Katusiime Mugisha a week ago wrestled the Minister for General Duties Mary Karooro Okurut off the Bushenyi District Woman MP NRM flag.
Ms Mugisha won the district with a stunning 74 percent of the vote in the September 4 NRM primaries. It is now understood that the current allegations, including charges that the NWSC chief executive used the corporation resources to finance campaigns are borne out of the political fallout in Bushenyi, with some of those on the losing side not taking the defeat with grace.
Dr. Mugisha, speaking to the media on Tuesday afternoon said the allegations were not surprising but all lacked fact and proper hypothesis. The allegations first came up in an old petition that has since been disposed off by the investigating agencies and cleared him, and were again raised in fresh story run by an online publication in the week.
Bamugisha Community Welfare Ltd explained:
The allegations claim that Dr. Mugisha, has through the Bamugisha Community Welfare Ltd (BCWL) been misusing resources of the corporation to fund positive community initiatives to boost his wife’s political fortunes have been found to be wanting in facts.
BCWL is a non-profit private company, limited by guarantee, that implements incentives aimed at improving the welfare of especially rural communities. The private company is run by Dr. Mugisha’s wife, Mrs. Annet Katusiime Mugisha.
According to returns filed at Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB), the company started running in 2014 and according to records, it has audited accounts up to December 2019.
According to the records at the URSB, there has never been any transfer of funds from NWSC to Bamugisha Community Welfare Ltd. No money from NWSC coffers has ever been transferred to this company and staff who have contributed had done so in private capacity, records show.
Dr. Mugisha told PML Daily on Tuesday, September 15 that he was surprised by the allegations because the private company apart from being fully compliant with the URSB returns protocols, “is also declared to the IGG in accordance with the Leadership Code”.
The allegations that the NWSC chief used his official mobile number to make huge private transactions off the corporation coffers have been dismissed as unfounded.
Those are private mobile money transactions using a CUG number attached to the MD,” Mr. Sam Apedel, the NWSC Senior Public Relations Manager noted, adding that the practice did not violate any laws of the country.
“The bulk of those transactions is from my personal bank account at Standard Chartered Bank,” Dr. Mugisha said on Tuesday.
In anywise, it has been noted that for the record, while the NWSC does gets receivable through mobile money, it doesn’t pay out through the same medium.
“So, the issue of the MD misusing funds from the corporation’s mobile money receivable is far fetched and unfortunate,” an official said.
On the issue of Dr. Mugisha being lined up for sacking because his wife defeated a Minister in NRM primaries:
“This is an unfortunate hypothesis”, Dr. Mugisha said on Tuesday.
Analysts note that accordingly, everyone in Dr. Mugisha’s current position has a corporate social responsibility and duty to the community he or she comes from, the reason Dr. Mugisha and his wife incorporated a community-based organisation to act as a lawful vehicle to perform this role.
“There is no nexus between the resources of NWSC and the financing arrangements of this community organisation” Dr. Mugisha nots.
Analysts also point out that Mrs. Mugisha maintains a constitutional right to participate in political activities and Dr. Mugisha cannot stand in the way of his wife’s life ambitions.
“It should be noted that my commitment to serve NWSC has been, and remains unfettered,” Dr. Mugisha said on Tuesday.
Another issue raised in the allegations was that the corporation had failed to account for the funds remitted by the government in the Service Coverage Acceleration Program (SCAP100) project, which has been running since 2018 that is facilitating extension of water to 12,000 villages, effecting 140,000 new connections, installing 20,000 public stand-posts and laying over 8,000kms of water mains. The SCAP100 intervention is enabled by funding from government through the Ministry of Water and Environment and NWSC internally raised income.
“it is on the record that all the monies received from the government for the SCAP100 has been utilised for that purpose,” Dr. Mugisha said.
On allegations that the NWSC received UGX. 11 billion for COVID-19 and has failed to account, the corporation says the only COVID-19 funds received was UGX. 550 million which was used to deal with floods in Jinja, Kampala, Entebbe, Mpondwe, Kasese, Lira and Manafa, with accountabilities readily available.
It is understood that the allegations against the UGX. 11 billion were misunderstood with the money the corporation received as part of the “arrears due to the NWSC in water bills from government departments”.
The NWSC has also dismissed as unfounded that the corporation bought hotels in Eastern and western Uganda. It is understood that the corporation acquired a training centre in South Western Uganda as part of the corporate plan 2018-2024, to supplement that at Ggaba in central Uganda and another to be acquired at Kachunga in Lira to boost the corporation’s staff training programmes.
“The acquisition of the premises were all made using the PPDA rules and everything was clear,” an official said.
The NWSC MD said the allegations that he has constantly harassed a senior manager Mr. Richard Muhangi, are unfounded, the matter having been discussed and resolved by the former NWSC Board chairman Dr. Christopher Ebal in January this year.