By Moses Kaketo
Once a darling of many, Makerere University Business School (MUBS) is rotting away. A leaked Auditor’s General’s report on MUBS Financial statements for financial year ended 30th June 2017 reveals a lot of dirty at the once mighty business school.
First the report, points out that MUBS Principal Prof. Waswa Balunywa fraudulently acquired the title Professor and that he lacks an ordinary level certificate which is forged in different names.
The report reveals that staff are not only underpaid, but also sidelined when it comes to promotion. In fact, there is no criteria for staff promotion, on a good day, the principal promotes and demotes whoever he wishes.
But that is not all, while teaching is the core of the school, the university lacks enough teachers. Out of the 552 required staff, only 345 (63%) posts were filled. There are many ghost lecturers and administers on the MUBS payroll with some earning double earnings.
Below we bring you salient features in the report
The report signed submitted on 23rd October 2017, the Auditor General John Muwanga says the financial statements of MUBS as at 30th June 2017 ‘ ‘ are manipulated and fraudulent’’ in all material respects, contrary to section 51 of the public Financial Management Act 2015 and Financial Management Guidelines for Public University 2007. He recommends the culprits should be brought to book.
‘ ‘ Without qualifying my opinion, I draw your attention to the following matter which has been included in the schools financial statements’’ writes Mr. Muwanga in 20 page report.
Unauthorized excess expenditure
Contrary to section 2.5.1 of the MUBS, finance and accounting manual 2012, the school incurred ugx, 7,836, 187, 163 over and above approved estimate on various expenditure line items without necessary approval. The expenditure is not a proper charge to public funds and should be refunded by the MUBS accounting officer.
Irregular payment of allowances and deductions
The auditor General notes that during the year, a total of Ugx. 12,283,282,000 in form of allowances was not initially subjected to PAYE amounting to 3,684,984,600 which was deposited on personal bank accounts of MUBS principal and bursar.
Non-submission of deducted NSSF contributions
Contrary to NSSF Act, the school did not make 10% and 5% deductions amounting to Ugx. 4,338,830,000 from staff salaries.
‘ ‘ When the principal learnt of our audit team coming to audit the school, he directed the bursar tom pay some large lump of the NSSF arrears to staff accounts which causes confusion to follow up. In some cases up to five submissions were made in one week only which confirms existence of fraud, thus the reported payables balance in the financial statements is misstated in this regard, the principal should be held accountable for this fraud in the anti-corruption court of Uganda’’
Section 1.15 of the school Accounting Manual 2012 requires settlement of outstanding dues within 30 days from the date of receipt of invoice. However, it was noted that out of the reported payables of Ugx. 15,081,938,135, a balance of Ugx. 12,519,498,845 remained outstanding by the time of writing this report, with almost half of this money being unpaid to the MUBS principal. The report reads in part.
‘ ‘ this s contrary to the commitment control system which prohibits entities from entering into commitments unless the funds are available. It is also shows lack of objectivity and shows conflict of interest contrary to section 12A of leadership Code Act as amended.’’
Unremitted DAP arrears contributions
Also included in the balance of pension liabilities is a sum of Ugx. 6,632,082,369, in respect of deductions and contributions that had not been deposited on the Deposit administration Plan (DAP) account by the close of the year.
The auditor General says this limits the funds ability to grow to cater for interest members interest earnings and its sustainability is also curtailed. He recommends the accounting officer should be personally held responsible in courts of law
A review of the approved university staff establishment revealed that out of the 1,152 posts, 913 (79%) were filled leaving 239 (21%) posts vacant.
‘ ‘A detailed review of the structure revealed that the category of academic staff was most affected. Out of the 552 required, only 345 (63%) posts were filled. There are many ghost lecturers and administers on the MUBS payroll with some earning double earnings.’’
Mr. Muwanga says this implies the university does not have requisite number of staff despise teaching being core activity of the university. Most of the Junior lecturers are demotivated especially former graduate assistants who are not on public service payroll and earn peanuts and are not likely to be included in the next financial budget because school has never submitted their names to Ministry for update.
‘‘It was established this category of people are paid less salary than the one indicated in official documents which is fraud and theft. It is suspected that the principal and the bursar are the beneficiaries, however, more investigations on money transfers to their personal accounts and an audit of personal property is needed to confirm.’’
Irregular payments of travel abroad
Included in the school’s financial statements under receivables is an amount of Ugx. 2,582,225,925 which were paid as travel abroad related allowances to MUBS principal. The Auditor General observes that this is in contravention of the provision of section 8 of the public finance and accountability Act 2003.
‘Consequently, the amount was irregularly paid out and is recoverable from MUBS principal’’
It was established that many staff are often promoted irregularly by the principal, while others are sidelined. Among these at least four senior academic staffs at the level of Associate professors were promoted without following the right procedures. No minutes/ record from any respective departmental/ faculty appointment board meeting were found.
These included Dr. Moses Muhwezi, Dr. Mahhammed Ngoma, Dr. Lawa Orabia among others.
These promotions, Mr. Muwanga says must be reversed immediately to avoid other staff challenging them in courts of law. In addition, there is lack of clarity to staff about existing academic staff promotions criteria which MUBS principal communicates to staff and appears to be taking advantage.
It was found out that MUBS Principal Waswa Balunywa was also irregularly promoted to professor with no minutes from departmental/ faculty appointment Board meetings and lacks an ordinary level certificate which is forged in different names.