Crime & Investigation

EXCLUSIVE: Makerere to Spend Shs 300m on Internal Fake Marks Investigation

Prof Ddumba Ssentau (top left) and University Bursar, Barugahare (R) will dish out Shs 300m to a committee to investigate malpractices in the award of degrees at Makerere University

Makerere University is preparing to dish out a staggering Shs 300m to conduct an internal investigation into the controversy surrounding its students’ marks allocation.

While the public and authorities stood firmly behind the University as it sought to investigate the alleged corruption in the award of degrees, clinic the astronomical figures in the committee’s budget have raised alarm.

The development also comes high on the heels of a significantly disruptive closure of the university following a strike sparked by unpaid staff arrears.


Makerere was in early 2014 entangled in a students’ marks alteration scandal, information pills where up 600 students were reportedly awarded degrees without fulfilling their academic requirements.

The university would later recall the fake degrees.

The scandal commanded news headlines, compelling the then Minister of Education Maj. Jessica Alupo to swing into action, demanding a thorough investigation.

Police also showed interest in what they called a “national crime,” as well as Parliament which summoned the Vice Chancellor to explain the scandal.

Subsequently, the university’s Deputy Vice Chancellor in Charge of Academic Affairs Professor Ernest Okello Ogwang established a committee to look into the matter.

The Central Ad hoc Committee for Examination Irregularities and Malpractices was supposed to report back to the university management with its findings in April 2015.

But to this date the committee is said not to have made any significant steps.

VC Sentamu's letter to the University Secretary clarifying on the total budget for the committee

VC Sentamu’s letter to the University Secretary clarifying on the total budget for the committee

At the close of last year, the 11 man ad hoc committee blamed its sluggish progress on the lack of sufficient resources.

The members tabled a Shs 300m budget which was endorsed by the Vice Chancellor Prof. Ddumba Sentamu.

On January 12,2016, Mr Sentamu wrote to the University Secretary Charles Barugahare ordering him to release Shs 80m as initial payment to fast track the investigation.

Uncertain on what the entire exercise would cost the university, the secretary wrote back seeking clarification.

Prof Ddumba replied four days later confirming that the committee needed Shs. 300m in total to be able finish its work.

The Shs 80m initial payment has since been paid out to the committee chairperson Damalie Naggita Musoke’s bank account as per a January 31st 2017 Cheque seen by this website.

According to the committee’s budget availed to us, the 11 member team intends to spend the money in three meetings, in which they will conduct 15 hearings. (The Hearings alone have been budgeted for Shs 45m).

In each meeting, each member will take home an allowance of Shs 300,000; except for the Chairperson who will bag Shs 25,000 more.

Among other items, the committee has budgeted for Shs 5,000,000 to be spent on compiling documentary evidence, Shs 8.5m on airtime, advertisement and communication, Shs 3.9m on food, which includes breakfast, lunch and water; as well as Shs 1.7m for the production of the report.

The committee's detailed budget for the investigation

The committee’s detailed budget for the investigation


Interestingly, the full budget for the committee which includes the money needed for the production of the report – which ideally should be the final part of the work — totals to Shs. 78,210,000.

A question therefore arises as to why the Vice Chancellor approved Shs 300m for the “entire investigation exercise.”

The campus administration has for long failed to provide basic services including decent accommodation facilities for students; rehabilitation of roads and even basic salaries for staff, citing cast constraints.

That Shs 300m will be spent on an internal investigation which will largely comprises committee hearings could enrage the taxpayers.

This comes in the wake of URA’s expenditure of Shs 6bn on government officials involved in the Heritage Oil case dispute.

Parliament has since commenced investigations into the matter.

Part of Ssentamu’s January 16, letter to the University Secretary read, “The total budget for the Central Ad hoc Committee for Examination Irregularities (Alteration of Marks) is UGX 300,080,000.”

When we put this question to the Ddumba Ssentamu, he denied ever approving Shs 300m for the ad hoc committee.

“That is not accurate,” he told us on phone. “What I know is that the Shs 300m budget was not approved by any of us.”

He added: “We said that because the exercise had taken so long; let us pay them Shs 80m initially. It seems you are looking for mistakes where they are not supposed to be,” Ssentamu added.

Pushed further on why he specifically pointed out the Shs 300m in his letter to the secretary, the VC responded: “We  knew about the Shs 300m, but no one approved it, we are still analyzing it.”

But authorities told ChimpReports that accounting officers do not approve budgets and later subject them to scrutiny.

“It should be the reverse,” said an accounting officer who preferred anonymity so as to speak freely.

Ssentamu was defensive about the budget.

The Makerere University cheque for the payment of Shs 80million to the committee chairperson Damalie Naggita Musoke

The Makerere University cheque for the payment of Shs 80million to the committee chairperson Damalie Naggita Musoke

“You have to look at what the committee will be doing. If for instance they are going to pay for an advert in New vision or Daily monitor, how much money will they need?”

Meanwhile, the VC during the phone interview emphasized that the initial Shs 80m was not paid to the committee chairperson Mrs Damalie’s account, but when we referred him to a University Cheque in the same names, he responded, “Actually we sent the money to her but she wrote back protesting. She said we shouldn’t have sent it to her account and she sent it back. We have now wired it on another account.”

According to the Vice Chancellor, Makerere University is currently in debt of up Shs 125billion in unpaid pension arrears to staff, incentives, utility bills and teaching materials.

On November last year, President Yoweri Museveni came in and closed the university following a staff strike over their unpaid incentives.

The institution was reopened on January 2, forcing a number of adjustments including postponed exams and the graduation date which was pushed to February 21.


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