EXPOSED! Inside the rot at Makerere medical school

Mak's school of public health is also under the college of health sciences

Mak’s school of public health is also under the college of health sciences

By Our Reporter

In a four page dossier, a whistleblower has unmasked the extreme rot that continues to be prevalent at the Mulago-based Makerere Medical School (more technically known as the College of Health Sciences or CHS). Addressed to the Speaker of Parliament but chiefly copied to MP Joel Senyonyi who chairs the Committee on State & Statutory Enterprises (COSASE), the petition highlights what has gone wrong and calls on Parliament to weigh in and help to embolden the voices of those patriotic insiders who for years have been risking to raise the red flag highlighting what has gone wrong at CHS.

The whistleblower reveals that some rogue-minded dons (teaching at Makerere Medical School & also doing clinical work in Mulago teaching hospital as well) have for years been taking advantage of the governing Council’s inability to adequately supervise the Mulago-based training facility, to engage in a lot of inappropriate actions at CHS. That a good number of senior College of Health Sciences staff run private businesses using facilities, name and premises of Makerere University which gets nothing in return. That all rules of corporate governance have been breached at CHS like nowhere else.

The whistleblower invites COSASE to inquire into dons who use Makerere’s name to land multi-billion research contracts and grants from donors abroad which they personalize once the money is here; making it impossible for the University to benefit in any way. That a certain big man at CHS has for years been permitting private Universities to have their students and lecturers access some of the state of art laboratories in Mulago which they use to facilitate their research, teaching and study programs.

This malpractice has for years been attracting a lot of money for the big man at CHS and the University (whose policy doesn’t permit such sharing of its facilities with private Universities/its competitors) gets nothing in return yet it incurs a lot of expenses related to equipping and maintenance of these very labs.

The whistleblower makes reference to the lab used for cadavers (dead bodies) as one of the areas where the CHS big man (names withheld) makes a killing. The truth is that many of these private Universities offer some of these very prestigious medicine courses (taking advantage of the hundreds of students who get rejected at Makerere) but they don’t have the funding required to invest into these very sophisticated laboratories. The whistleblower suggests that COSASE gets involved and inquire into all these things in order to save on the wastage and hemorrhaging of public resources for the University which is already cash-strapped.


The whistleblower also invites COSASE to inquire into the activities of a company called Makerere University Liquid Nitrogen Plant Ltd. That the company rides on the good name and good will of Makerere’s CHS to do big business whereby it specializes in the sell and supply of nitrogen to support medical operations yet there is no documentation anywhere showing the company is one in which the University has any stake. The whistleblower attaches some of the receipts and official documentation indicating the company uses Makerere headed paper, phone and fax numbers. It equally carries the University’s email address and website as theirs too yet in actual truth, the University has nothing to do with the company even when individual officials pick money from there for their own selfish and unjust enrichment.

Recently, the whistleblower informs COSASE Chairman Joel Senyonyi, those behind this curious Nitrogen Company initiated a very expensive procurement process seeking to use billions off Makerere coffers to facilitate the purchase of a nitrogen-manufacturing machine or plant. Diligent as always, Prof Damalie Nakanjako, the CHS Principal for the past one year who many are fighting hard to oust, raised a red flag protesting such wasteful use of Makerere’s money to facilitate procurement of a machine for a private Company in which the country’s Premier University doesn’t have any stake.

The whistleblower assures Senyonyi that, because those involved are too powerful and deeply connected, only his equally powerful COSASE can successfully intervene and inquire into this wastage. The company also operates in University premises without paying rent and takes advantage of University staff to facilitate its core operations yet there is no proof that Makerere has a stake in it. “You must begin with URSB as COSASE to establish who are the people and directors behind this nitrogen company that is paraziting on Makerere coffers,” the whistleblower advises.


The whistleblower also makes reference to Lung Institute while imploring COSAE’s Senyonyi to inquire into its operations and the undocumented relationship with Makerere University’s CHS too. That the Institute, which began in 2008, is registered as a private company limited by guarantee and operates in premises that belong to Makerere University (as part of the Mulago-based College of Health Sciences). That no rent is paid to the University whose stake in the highly specialized Institute isn’t conspicuously documented. That some of the Makerere staff work there too yet the proceeds (it charges patients some modest fees) go to private pockets and not to Makerere University or CHS at all.


The whistleblower informs Joel Senyonyi that all they know is that the Lung Institute’s governing board has the likes of the University Secretary Yusuf Kiranda, the Vice Chancellor and the very wealthy Prof Charles Ibingira (the immediate former CHS Principal) serving as some of the members. The others aren’t readily known because even the Institute’s website doesn’t disclose much. That it’s not clear how the Institute’s staff get recruited or remunerated and the extent to which they are supposed to be loyal or answerable to Makerere University’s HR Directorate. The whistleblower asserts that there are lots of grey areas, regarding the relationship between Makerere and the Lung Institute, which Senyonyi and the entire Parliament must inquire into. “It’s surprising that Parliament, Ministry of Health, Edith Nakalema, the IGG and even the Auditor General have all been reluctant to inquire into these things even when we have been prompting them to. You are our only hope now,” the whistleblower concludes.

That COSASE should also be keen at understanding the circumstances under which the leadership of the CHS has over the years been reluctant to insist on transparency and corporate governance values and put things right regarding the supposed relationship between Makerere University and the Lung Institute. The COSAE boss is also implored to inquire into endless wrangling relating to the recruitment of the next CHS Principal; substantively taking over after Prof Charles Ibingira. That some of this wrangling relates to desire by some people to continue covering up some of the powerful dons involved in curious private deals merely using the name and good will of Makerere’s CHS as cover to circumvent high level scrutiny.



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