Electoral Commission fires top bosses over corruption

Left to right: Electoral Commission Secretary Sam Rwakoojo, IT director Pontius Namugera, and the Commission’s spokesperson Jotham Taremwa. They are among eight top officials who have been ordered to quit the country’s electoral body.

At least eight senior Electoral Commission (EC) officials, have been fired over accusations of corruption.

They include Sam Rwakoojo, the accounting officer who doubles as the Secretary to the Electoral Commission.

Other affected EC officials include Director Finance & Administrator Joseph Lwanga, Godfrey Wanyoto (head of procurement); Jotham Taremwa (public relations officer); Namugera Pontius (Information Technology director), Jordan Lubega (Administrator networks); Mr Musuza Charles and Edgar Kasigwa (data specialists).

Trouble started after EC officials rejected a ballot printing bid from a German firm, Veridos Identity Solutions GMBH. In 2016, the German firm signed a joint venture with Uganda Printing & Publishing Corporation (UPPC) to print money and handle other security printing deals.

Sources close to State House said Mr Rwakoojo and team were asked to give the ballot printing deal to UPPC and in the process of verification, they discovered Veridos has a big stake in the company and the same German firm had successfully won a bid to transmit the poll results.

EC officials said that it was going to look awkward for the company contracted to print ballot papers to be the same company entrusted with transmitting the poll results.

The EC officials then wrote back to Veridos asking for details of ownership and expenditures of the company. In the process, President Museveni also reportedly wrote to EC that the company has a bigger reputation beyond printing ballot papers, and is tasked with printing the national currency, passports and handling data verification for the country’s national ID.

The procurement team then evaluated the bid and rejected it. The matter later went to the State House Anti-corruption Unit and IGG, with the EC officials accused of corruption.

The IGG is also investigating millions of shillings spent on consultancy services for the development of an Electoral Commission communication strategy, payment to Promote Uganda Ltd to do a documentary on the history of elections in Uganda and expenditure of Shs290m to undertake PR and Media campaigns at regional level to enhance public trust and confidence in the electoral process for 2020/2021.

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