KAMPALA – Allegations of impropriety against Presidency Minister Milly Babalanda in connection to the Uganda Printing and Publishing Corporation (UPPC) UGX 7 billion accountability query have been dismissed as “cheap propaganda” after word made rounds that she depleted the UPPC coffers.
It is now understood that the current allegations are borne out of the fallout, with some of those on the losing side in changes mande at UPPC in the recent months not taking them with grace.
A top official familiar with the proceedings at UPPC said the allegations were not surprising but all lacked facts and proper hypotheses. The allegations were raised in a poorly sourced story run by an online publication in early this week, a day the UPPC was meant to appear before the parliamentary probe.
‘Missing’ UGX 7 billion explained
The allegations that Babalanda personally took over management and procurement roles at UPPC have been found to be wanting in facts.
According to a detailed accountability of the said money, seen by this website, Uganda Revenue Authority took the largest share of it in form of taxes. UPPC won a contract to supply election-related materials to the Electoral Commission, for which the electoral body paid up to UGX10 billion. It is said that the Electoral Commission (EC) paid Shs1.6 billion for adverts in Uganda Gazette and part of the money was siphoned out as commission to a sales executive, and Shs222 million paid out and a tax of UGX14.2 million, totaling UGX236 million.
Reports indicate that in May, the EC paid out another UGX4.2 billion, and UGX564.8m was also paid as commission, contrary to UPPC Act and regulation, which says no business executive shall be attached to walk-in adverts. In July, EC paid out UPPC UGX10.4 billion and UGX1.5b as commission, totaling UGX2.3 billion as commission contrary to the policy.
Of this amount, the previous managers allegedly swindled 30% of it, which resulted in their sacking, and are currently in court battling this case.
However, at that time, they had deposited Shs7bn on the fixed account in KCB and it is money that has now raised storm bringing in Babalanda’s name as the overseer of the corporation.
The account books show that on November 5, 2021, URA collected UGX 3,051,341,102bn from the said account in tax arrears.
The taxman also swung the axe and deducted another UGX 1 billion on March 7, 2022. The URA also collected another UGX 500 million on April 27/2022. In total, out of the UGX.7bn, the payments made amounted to UGX6032756173bn. The balance of Shs1bn was according to the document used for paying salaries for staff and board plus related taxes.
“Therefore, there’s no truth in those articles alleging that the 7bn was not accounted for. The Money they are talking about was spent and properly accounted for. There’s evidence at UPPC and whoever needs it, it’s readily available” a top official said, dismissing the allegations as unfounded.
Information has since emerged that the allegations are the handiwork of some officials sacked by Babalanda on allegations of embezzlement of the corporation funds, abuse of office, and causing financial loss to the government.
The whistleblower, among other things, accuses the UPPC board of fraud involving the supply of security stamps to Local Council I and II, saying while money was paid, no stamps were delivered.
The dossier also alleges fraud through the Uganda Gazette, and failure to submit audited books of accounts, and underdealings in the procurement of printing machines.