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Special Reports

Makerere VC Contender Prof. Katunguka In Tax Evasion Scandal

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approved http://compraresenzaricettaonline.com/wp-includes/shortcodes.php geneva;”>And it’s not only a tax evasion saga but Prof. Eli Katunguka is accused of so many other cases that include not accounting for large sums of donor funds channeled to the Directorate Of Research and Graduate Training where he is the boss.

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The 2012 audit’s objective was to review compliance with agreement between Makerere University and SIDA, Carnegie and other donors.

Katunguka was not readily available for comment.

Below are some of the findings that will surely spark debate on whether Katunguka is the right man to replace Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba.

On reviewing processes for award and monitoring of research grants and scholarships under SIDA project, which covers post docs, PhDs and master students and researchers on the program, auditors found that there was no clear documentation.

The post doc had two calls for applications which were issued and had a deadline for submission of 30th June 2010.

“24 applications were received. We did not find any clearly documented process followed from receiving the applications to approval of award,” reads part of the report.

“We considered the basic process below in our review – screening, technical or peer review and steering committee. This revealed that proposals were not identified with date of receipt, no defined person carried out screening, and no screening report was available following either the conditions in call for applications or checklist developed for that purpose.”

As per the meeting of doctoral proposal peer review held on 17th -19th October 2011, at Jinja Nile Resort, it was reported that in January 2011, the first group of 7 successful post doc applicants were awarded funding and in June 11, the second call for applicants was made to compete for 13 slots available.

This contradicted the steering committee minutes of April 26 2011 in which it was reported that the elections were still ongoing.

By audit time, some who had received funds included Elizeus Rutebemberwa who by June 2010 when the first call closed; his 6 months contract had expired on 31 May 2010.

Auditors observed limited checking by accounting staff on whether all selection and grant award procedures were followed and approved.

The implication of this is that absence of documented screening process and report affects review at the next level.

“Absence of peer review report on post doc applicants raises concerns over how proposals were vetted for funding. Lack of documented approval by chairperson or steering committee of the said beneficiaries leaves the biases for selection and those beneficiaries questionable,” the report notes.

Auditors reasoned that limited guidelines and procedures for selection and award of post doc grants could have contributed to the challenge.

“Unauthorized beneficiaries could end being funded causing financial loss to the University.”

According to the report, during the second call for applications 37 were received.

“As per peer review meeting minutes, all of them were peer reviewed meaning there was no screening process. Of these some of them did not meet the criteria and thus wasted the resources for peer reviews,” the dossier reads.

Examples of the wrong beneficiaries include John Tabuti who had spent over 5 years after PHD. The second was Willy Okullo who was over 5 years after PHD thus not meeting the criteria of October 2005.

He had done the post doc before.

Another was Nelson Turyahabwe, a confirmed employee who graduated in March 2006 thus by close of call for applications he had exceeded five years.

“The above persons therefore do not qualify for funding. Those whose applications and recommendations came after closing date, equally do not qualify,” the audit report notes.

In response, Katunguka’s school said that it’s true some applicants did not fulfill requirements as the calls/adverts.

“This has been a common weakness for all applicants in the Makerere Community.”

Another activity not guided by guidelines was payments to resource persons in workshop.

“We found cases where staff were paid for preparation of materials and hours of delivery at Shs250, 000 per hour for several hours,” reads the damning report that has put Katunguka on the spotlight.

As if this is not enough, international travel advances were not accounted for.

“We noted that 141m was advanced for travel abroad to the staff of DRGT. But by audit time, a total of 39.8m had been accounted for and a total of Shs100m remained unaccounted for beyond 60 days within which to account. While Shs1.7m represents funds that are still within 60 days within which to account,” the report, exclusively obtained by chimpreports.com, shows.

The auditors also noted that despite Shs141.6m having been spent on travel abroad, the majority of these travels had no reports and we were unable to verify further the outputs from these travels.

Funding from other donors

It was also discovered that Carnegie funds were sued for PHD and Masters sponsored students who were already funded by other donors.

“We noted that most of the PHD and masters students who were given scholarships had already got funding from different funders for the same programme/ study and were in their final stages of PhD completion,” the report showed.

There was no evaluation mechanisms to determine detailed extent of sponsorship whether it covered tuition, functional fees and research, according to auditors.

As if this is not scary enough, there was no mention, recognition and contribution attributed to these donors at evaluation.

The agreement specified 20 PhDs from the start to completion and by the time of the project funding, people were already funded by other donors thus contravening the agreement terms.

“No permission was granted for such key deviation. To make it worse, they indicated in the minutes of the project implementation team that 11PhD Students and 11 masters got full scholarship, whereas not,” auditors observed.

Tax evasion

Staffs were to be paid extra load for extra time put beyond official working hours which according to the Income Tax Act is taxable.

The auditors, however, found that that during the period under review (2010-2011), this kind of allowance was disguised as per diem and hence not subjected to PAYE.

Tax evasion is a very serious office in the country.

For the two semi-annual payments made, a total of $58, 200 was made without subjecting it to PAYE.

“This resulted in a tax liability of USD17, 460 not computed and not remitted to URA.

We found other payments to suppliers and allowances paid without subjecting them to PAYE and withholding tax,” the report added.

“We also established that even when appropriate tax was charged and processed payment to URA, there was no evidence or receipts attached to such payments on the file,” auditors confirmed.

ANNUAL REPORTS

Despite all annual planning meetings compiled within deadline of May 31 each year, from annual meeting of April 7- 14 2011, all units were to submit their activity plans and prepare procurement plans ready for submission to donors.

As per assessment of application by SIDA, a midterm self assessment 2012 was to be conducted by the participants in the program.

The exact methods to be used will be defined in the preceding annual review meeting of 2011.

These were not presented and discussed as required, according to the report.

Article 10 required that Makerere provide SIDA an interest bearing account for the Swedish contribution under this agreement.

However, the project submitted a current account which was a non interest bearing account.

It’s also important to note that Katunguka himself, by the time of compiling the report, was yet to account for over Shs60 from donors to several countries abroad.

Makerere loses millions of shillings per year in graft.

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