IN THE EYE OF THE STORM: EAC Secretary General, Amb. Liberat Mfumukeko
The East African Community (EAC) Committee of Permanent Secretaries has recommended the sacking of the regional body’s Secretary General, Liberat Mfumukeko over financial mismanagement.
Their decision was based on a special audit report on the mismanagement of funds at the EAC.
The investigation followed Deputy Secretary General Dr Enos Bukuku’s dossier, exposing acts of corruption and abuse of resources.
The PSs meeting held a few days ago noted that testimonies from all interviewed staff, both Professional and Executive, were to a “large extent consistent with allegations” expressed by Dr. Bukuku in his letter dated 7th April, 2017 “on the management crisis” at the EAC.
In their resolutions, the PSs said the “matters under investigation have a serious negative impact on the credibility of the SG to continue running the affairs of the Community.”
The PSs’ meeting usually precedes the Extraordinary Meeting of the EAC Council of Ministers.
In short, the PSs are technical people who advise the Council of Ministers on what normally forms the agenda of the EAC Heads of States Meeting.
In this case, the EAC leaders are expected to convene on Saturday in Arusha to discuss several issues including “Sustainable Financing Mechanism for the Community.”
According to minutes seen by ChimpReports, the PSs advised that the Ministers bring the “results and recommendations of this investigations to the attention of the Summit” as the appointing authority for the Secretary General.
The PSs also recommended that the Council of Ministers should consider taking disciplinary measures on the staff of the Community involved in the loss of funds in line with the EAC Staff Rules and Regulation in order to set precedence for the future.
While Mfumukeko found the General Reserve Book Value as per financial statements of June 30, 2016 at $11m, the current status of the same as at June, 3, 2017 was just a miserable $19,063.
The inquiry also discovered that millions of dollars received “were not deposited in the General Reserve Fund account before being extended as required by the Rule 32 (1) of the EAC Financial Rules and Regulations (2012).”
It was also observed that funds amounting to $192,000 were advanced to the FSDRP Project contrary to provisions of the EAC Financial Rules and Regulations (2012).
The PSs recommended to the Summit for a provision in the Treaty and other legal instruments a scenario where the service of the executive may need to be terminated either due to “incapacitation” or “incompetence”, among others.
They further noted that minimum requirements/qualification for the SG be spelt out in the Treaty to guide in appointing the persons to hold the post and that possible requirements may include experience in management, external relations, communication, public sector experience and resource oversight.
The PSs advised that the SG and DSGs be recruited competitively, such that at “every appointment there should be more than one competing for the post” – which would give the Summit an opportunity to select the “most qualified” among the candidates.
It was also decided that all professional staff implicated in the malpractices identified in this finding be reprimanded in accordance with the EAC Staff Rules and Regulations.
Regulation 85(1) of the EAC Staff Rules and Regulations provides that all staff of the Community shall maintain the highest standards of integrity conduct.
Mfumukeko has since defended his innocence, saying he has saved EAC of millions of dollars in the reforms he introduced.
The Permanent Secretaries also want the Secretariat to develop a complaints management mechanism to provide for feedback, raising of issues and addressing them before they cause damage to in the Community
It remains unclear whether the Presidents’ meeting will determine Mfumukeko’s future at EAC.
While the Council of Ministers received this report from the PSs, sources said they were uncomfortable discussing Mfumukeko’s issues.
But regional leaders have previously warned against lavish spending and poor financial management at the secretariat.
Nevertheless, the PSs decided that the Council of Ministers, among other may take the “outcomes of this investigation as an eye opener to guide the Community in reviewing and developing rules and regulations that will mitigate wastage/mismanagement of resources; enhance general controls; and allow clear monitoring of activities of the Community.
According to Article 67 (4) of the Treaty, the Secretary General nominated by the relevant Head of State, serves a fixed five year term.
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