Uganda’s Ministry of Education and Sports is in the spotlight over teachers’ SACCO money. Last year, the president pledged to fund the teachers SACCO’s across the country to the tune of 25 billion shillings.
Each year, the teachers would receive five billion shillings for five years. The first installment was released last year. However, disagreement arose between the teachers and education ministry officials over how the funds would be managed.
While the Ministry of Education wanted a fund manager to manage the money on behalf of the teachers, the latter rejected the move, saying they have their apex SACCO that is capable of managing the funds.
The ministry reportedly went ahead and appointed the Post Bank as the fund manager. Left with no option, the teachers through their umbrella organization, the Uganda National Teachers’ Union (UNATU) dragged the ministry to Inspector General of Government.
The union among others accused the ministry of abusing the process of the procurement, saying they never followed the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets (PPDA) regulations and guidelines to open up the process to bids. They also accused the education ministry of conflict of interest since one of the members of the committee is a board member of Post Bank.
Other complaints raised, particularly to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and Sports Rose Nasali Lukwago is that she has had a record of being interdicted. UNATU wrote to the IGG requesting for a thorough investigation. The IGG forwarded the complaints to the PPDA whom it requested to also investigate the matter.
Now the PPDA has written to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and Sports demanding for the procurement files for the selection of Post Bank.
In a letter dated 11th June 2014, Cornelia Sabiiti, the Executive Director of the PPDA says “the authority requires the procurement action file for above process to be delivered to PPDA by Friday, 27 June 2014 at 10:00am for review of the above procurement process. According to the Executive Director, the procurement action file must include; The invitation bid, Record of issue and receipt of bids, Record of bid opening, Copy of the detailed bid document issued to bidders, Bid proposals submitted by the bidders, All PP Forms related to this procurement, contract committee minutes for the procurement, The signed contract; and All correspondences related to the procurement of fund manager for the teachers Sacco.”
James Tweheyo, the UNATU Secretary General has confirmed the investigations and says the teachers were forced to take their case to IGG after they were given a raw deal by the education ministry.
However, by the time of filing this story, it was not clear whether the Permanent Secretary had submitted the required procurement action files. She was reported to be out of office.
An e mail inquiry to the Assistant Commissioner For Communication and Information Management Patrick Emmanuel Muinda had not been replied. Kamanda Bataringaya, the Acting Minister of Education and Sports was reported to be for cabinet meeting when our reporter visited his office this morning.