DEVELOPING STORY: Fraud hits UCU stores

Five named in Shs5m procurement scandal



Five Uganda Christian University (UCU) staff members have been named in a procurement scam in which 1,850 kilogrammes of rice went missing, The Standard has learnt.

The scandal broke when a whistleblower tipped off officers at the UCU Police Station after noticing that something strange was going on in the delivery of the said rice on July 23.

Keith Tumwine, an investigations officer, told The Standard that a driver of truck registration number UAQ 859N belonging to SWT Tarners Ltd was instructed by the company sales manager to deliver 120 bags of rice to the university on Saturday, July 23. Each bag contained 50 kgs of rice.

The driver, Silaje Kavuma, reportedly received a phone call from a member of staff at UCU, instructing him to stop in Seeta so that another person could find him with a truck and offload part of the consignment. 

“When we were tipped, we went and arrested Ivan Isabirye, a stores assistant, whose work was to receive, sign and confirm that he had received 120 bags of rice,” Tumwine said. “I used the power of observation to see what an ordinary person cannot see.”

Tumwine added that Isabirye initially denied knowledge of the scam but later confessed to complicity in the crime and said that he had been promised a share of the deal.

“There is a group of non-teaching staff involved in this fracas, which could cause financial loss amounting to Shs5,624,000 to the university,” Tumwine said.

Isabirye was arrested but has since been released on bond after spending a night in police custody.

The Deputy Vice Chancellor for Development and External Relations, Mr David Mugawe, told this reporter that there is a chain of people in several departments involved, ranging from the stores, accounts, to the dining sections.

The Standard , however, could not reveal their names because an internal investigation is ongoing and a report is expected by August 3. 

The university administration will take action when the report is complete.

“We have put a team in place to investigate and find out whether this is the first time or it has been going on,” Mr Mugawe said. “For now, we cannot give details without the report because that would be speculation.”

Isabirye and the group were charged with seven cases which include theft, diversion of property, false accounting, embezzlement of property, false procurement, conspiracy to defraud and causing financial loss to the company (UCU).

The case is on record under police file number SD Ref:09/23/07/2016.