Margaret Etuusa, the Makerere University Deputy Registrar in charge Certification, Ceremonies and Production Division-CCPD has been suspended.
Etuusa is accused of illegally hiring a company that fleeced money from parents and graduands during the just concluded 67th graduation ceremonies at the university under the guise of securing their mobile phones and gadgets.
In a March 7th 2017 letter, Acting Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Associate Prof. Okello Ogwang, suspends Etuusa over what he termed as abuse of office and overstepping her mandate. “Preliminary investigations have shown that you are the officer at the centre of the controversy of purported fleecing of money from unsuspecting members of the public, and attempting to paint the good image of Makerere University “black”,” Ogwang said.
Ogwang adds: “It has been discovered that you irregularly handled the process of charging phone owners without approval of the University Authority.” Etuusa reportedly single-handedly permitted Exxon Contractors Limited to provide phone custody services during the 67th graduation ceremony after paying Shillings 1 million into the academic registrar’s account.
Prof. Ogwang says that by single handedly contracting the company, Etuusa overstepped her powers. “You overstepped your powers and abused your office by single-handedly procuring the phone handler, which resulted into fleecing money from the unsuspecting members of the public and denting the university image,” reads Ogwang’s letter.
According to Prof. Ogwang, Etuusa’s conduct flouted provisions of the public procurement law –PPDA Act– because she usurped the powers of the Contracts Committee. “So your actions are susceptible to fraud, abuse of office, and tantamount to gross misconduct contrary to the well-known and laid down procurement laws, policies and procedures,” he contends.
Prof. Ogwang has ordered Etuusa to vacate the university office with immediate effect and stay away from the Senate Building during her suspension period. Etuusa will be on half pay during her suspension. “Your written explanation was found not convincing. Accordingly, you are hereby suspended on half pay with immediate effect and your matter is forwarded to the Appointments Board for disciplinary action,” Ogwang’s letter reads.
Ogwang instructs Etuusa to handover all university property in her possession to the Academic Registrar and and the Director of Human Resources.
Etuusa’s suspension follows a public outcry during and after the 67th Graduation Ceremony last month about the university decision to charge them for securing their phones and electronic gadgets. This prompted Dr. Tanga Odoi, the Makerere University Convocation-MUC chairman to write to the university secretary calling for Etuusa’s suspension and inquiries into the matter.
In his February 27th, 2017 letter, Dr. Odoi noted that while the function was colourfully organised, it had selfish members of the university who used it as an extortion avenue to reap money from parents and graduands.
“Media reports on mismanagement of graduation ceremony casted doubts on our ability to manage financial resources as the university. I have received numerous calls from staff and alumni over these reports, citing possible ramifications on the perimeter wall project funding. Reports also cites loss of university income due to insider trading involving some university officers which were illegal,” noted Dr. Tanga.
Etuusa has not yet commented on the accusations and the new development as she couldn’t be reached by our reporter.