KAMPALA: An investigation has found the Executive Director Public Procurement and Disposal of assets Authority (PPDA), Canon Benson Turamye and his counterparts at National Water and sewage corporation (NWSC) were involved in blocking an investigation into a dubious procurement deal where NWSC procured fake water pre-paid meters at an exorbitant cost of Shs17 billion.
It has been found PPDA ignored the investigations into the Shs17 billion NWSC procurement deal and instead its boss Turamye exploited how he could benefit from the dubious procurement deal.
According to the whistleblower’s report submitted to IGG last year, the deal would have Turamye’s wife promoted at NWSC so that on the other hand the PPDA boss Turamye could kill the investigation into the messy procurement deal.
Ruth Kembabazi, Turamye’s wife had been recruited by NWSC as a senior internal auditor on August 6, 2018 at a salary scale of 3.1.
However, in a surprise move that shocked senior staff at NWSC, Kembabazi was abruptly promoted to Senior Compliance Officer on September 2, 2020, earning her a salary scale of 3.10, which is almost the salary scale of principal officers at NWSC.
Interestingly, NWSC kingpins ignored to promote staff members who had worked for five years at the public company but did it for a particular person well knowing that Kembabazi’s promotion would save them from PPDA investigation as agreed with Turamye. It would save his job.
“We were surprised that our bosses orchestrated the promotion of Kembabazi, without regard to our internal policy on human resource management,” a senior NWSC staff said, adding that the promotion of Kembabazi angered those who were expecting to be promoted on merit.
The jilted staff at NWSC still wonder what special qualifications, skills and experience Kembabazi possessed to attain to be promoted in a period of just two years at NWSC.
However, it would later be discovered that Kembabazi’s promotion was an exchange for PPDA to protect NWSC top bosses from an investigation that would have brought them down, probably sending them to Luzira Prisons, among other punishments.
On the other hand, the rest of PPDA investigators have never forgiven Turamye for aborting the investigation of the Shs17 billion dubious procurement and are calling for a hammer to fall on his head.
“We were ready to pin NWSC but our boss (Turamye) let us down. Many gaps had been found in the Shs17 billion procurement of prepaid meters. Money exchanged hands in the process,” said an officer who preferred to remain anonymous, adding that he should be sacked.
Only days ago, the Beti Kamya, the Inspector General of Government (IGG) said it has become hard for government to track down big government officials involved in corruption because the way they do it is sophisticated.
Concern is that such bad dealings continue to cost Ugandan tax payers billions of shillings in terms of shoddy public works.
“General Museveni wants better service delivery for Ugandans but the likes of corrupt public officials like Turamye make it hard,” said a politician from western Uganda, further asking, “How did Mr. Turamye get the job as PPDA boss in the first place?”
It should be noted that last week when media was awash with news of Turamye being investigated over fake academic papers, the PPDA official pages (Twitter handle) were used to defend him, something which is not professional.
Bribe from Parliament expansion deal
During the reign of Rebecca Kadaga as Speaker of Parliament, he forced his accomplices at Parliament to accept about Shs600 million to award Roko Construction a contract for the expansion of the parliamentary building.
That money, is said, was shared between the top brass at Parliament and Turamye teams as he convinced them that there was no harm.
The Shs179 billion contract was done with officials flouting procurement rules as it took only 72 hours from the bidding stage to contract signing stage.
Parliament threw away bids for China Civil Engineering Company, China Complete Plant Import and Export, Seyani Brothers & Co. Ltd., and China National Aero technology International to quickly give ROKO Uganda and ROKO Rwanda the contract.
Turamye did not bother to evaluate the bids, saying parliament never informed them. Sources say he was aware of the whole transaction.
Not a long ago, MPs, while touring the construction site, said ROKO was running behind schedule, even though the company claimed covid-19 was the reason for the slow progress, something that the MPs could not listen accept. ROKO has many debts, which make it hard for the company to operate, one of the top executives, a South African fled with hundreds of thousands of dollars.