The Minister for Presidency, Hon. Milly Babalanda has defended her decision to have former board members of the Uganda Printing and Publishing Company (UPPC) interdicted.
Appearing before the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) on Tuesday, 28 March 2023, said the board members and some staff were complicit in embezzling and corruption.
She added that this followed an investigation prompted by a whistleblower’s report.
The committee summoned the minister over allegations that she had given herself the authority to carry out duties of the board of governors for UPPC following dismissal of the old board.
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Babalanda interdicted the then Managing Director of UPPC, Tom Davis Wasswa along with three other members of the board in 2021. They included, Victoria Namulondo, Catherine Ayebare and John Baptist Ahimbisibwe, the head of finance.
She added that while pursuing the matter, Wasswa tendered in his resignation while a few others who she did not name flew out of the country, evading the investigations.
The Chairperson of the Committee, Hon. Joel Ssenyonyi, questioned the minister on how she acquired the powers to carry out the duties of the board without any legal provision.
“There is no clause in the Act instituting UPPC or any suggestion in the instruments governing UPPC that grant you the power to do the work of the board. Perhaps, you should have appointed an interim board as it would be easier to explain,” Ssenyonyi added.
Babalanda said that the board had been interdicted for over a year and that with the bureaucracies of appointing a new board, she elected to stand in as the supervisor of the institution.
“I had to stand in to undertake the responsibilities of the board to avoid paralysing the work of the institution while pursuing appointing a new one,” she added.
The Principal Human Resource Officer in the President’s Office, Herbert Atuhaire added that without an express legal provision on the matter, the minister was encouraged to step-in in absence of the board.