By Our Reporter
The Inspector General of Government (IGG) Beti Kamya has opened an inquiry into circumstances under which two interdicted public servants were re-deployed at the National Animal Genetic Resources Centre and Data Bank (NAGRC & DB) without clearance by court and her office.
The IGG probe follows a recent whistleblower’s report to the IGG that pointed out allegations that the new NAGRC & DB executive director, Dr. Peter Beine Ahimbisibwe, who replaced Dr. Charles Lagu, hired two interdicted public servants, Charles Ezati and Benda Katali, who are currently battling charges of abuse of office at the Anti-Corruption Court in Kampala.
When contacted over the weekend, the IGG spokesperson, Ali Munira confirmed to New Vision that the petition is being studied.
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Munira also added that the law does not permit the appointment of someone who has been interdicted.
The petitioner alleges that Katali, who before his interdiction worked as a programme officer at NAGRIC & DB, has been re-deployed at the head office to coordinate community breeding, while Ezati, who previously worked as a nutritionist, is now re-deployed at Kasolwe to handle feeds.
“The public standing orders as provided for under Sections F-s 8(a-g) that every civil servant who is facing charges in court must be interdicted and such a person shall not exercise any official roles.
However, Dr. Beine with full knowledge of the court case went ahead and redeployed Dr. Ezati and Katali well aware that they were charged in court,” the whistleblower states in his petition.
The two were charged with colluding to commit a fraudulent practice contrary to section 95 of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act, 2003 on August 7, 2020, in the Anti-Corruption Court under reference: E/173/2020.
Prosecution alleges that Ezati and Katali approved a direct procurement and supply that led to loss of Government funds totalling sh1.3b.
Prosecution further alleges that the accused persons between July and November 2019, at NAGRC&DB Entebbe in Wakiso district jointly colluded to commit a fraudulent practice in the procurement of animal semen worth sh1.3b from Kibubu Agro Suppliers Limited.
They were subsequently interdicted and are facing charges with seven others before Justice Margaret Tibulya, the deputy head of the Anti-Corruption division of the High Court. The hearing of the case, according to court records, resumes on November 3, 2022.
Others, who are battling abuse of office and causing financial loss charges at the Kololo based Anti-Corruption Court, include, Dr. Lagu, Philip Ezekiel Mukani, Patrick Mawadri, Dr. Wilfred Anthony Ntaate, Tadeo Mbazira, Clement Nuwamanya, Mathias Wakulira and Yasinta Nabukenya.
In their petition, which is copied to the Director Criminal Investigations Directorate of the Uganda Police Force, Dr. Tom Magambo and the Head State House Anti-Corruption Unit, Brig. Gen. Henry Isoke, the whistleblower wants Kamya to compel Ahimbisibwe to enforce the interdiction provisions for the employees.
The whistleblower also wants the IGG to file contempt of court proceedings before the Anti-Corruption Court against NAGRC for employing interdicted staff.
The IGG probe, Munira said, seeks to investigate among other things why people who are on interdiction, and have not been clear, were appointed.
While on interdiction, IGG officials said, a Government official receives half, does not travel out of the country without the express permission and does not access office premises without express clearance.