The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has run into trouble with one of its principal donors after its secretariat submitted accountability for sh 18m replete with a slew of forgeries.
In a letter written to FDC secretary general and former Leader of Opposition in the Ninth Parliament, Nandala Mafabi, the country representative for the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD), Frank Rusa, gave the party a one-week ultimatum to rectify the forgeries he euphemistically labeled as “anomalies”.
“The letter seeks to put the above concern to your attention and ask of you to take the appropriate actions to rectify these anomalies in not later than a week,” Rusa notes in a letter dated 25th June. Rusa said FDC received shl8m from the NIMD to enhance its communication protocol.
To do so, Rusa said, FDC planned to procure communication equipment, such as a Sony camera, Samsung Galaxy tablet, banners, broadcast LED lights, podium and backdrop banners. Contrary to the party’s guidelines that make it explicit that procurements should be premised on competitive bidding by comparing a minimum of three quotations, the purchase of the items was single sourced.
However, to NIMD’s consternation, according to Rusa, FOC submitted inflated figures for a host of items while for others, old articles disguised as new were procured in a well- crafted scheme by party officials to line their pockets.
Among the items whose cost was grossly inflated, according to Rusa, is the Sony camera. The average price of a camera, NIMD contends, is between sh3m and sh4m. However, the Sony camera bought by FOC was at sh5.94m, which is almost sh2m more than the average market price. For the laptop, Rusa stated that ingenious party officials bought second-hand computers and accessories, but labeled them as new.
The accountability submitted by the FDC secretariat indicated that the party purchased computers from the same supplier who sold them the Samsung tablet. Ironically and much to the party’s embarrassment, NIMD made calls and proved that the purported supplier of the Samsung tablet, computers and attendant accessories deals in different items.
NIMD contends that the forged receipts invalidate the whole accountability. ‘The accountability lacks proper supporting documents and authenticity, such as a bid analysis for Walugembe and Sons, the delivery notices for the camera and laptop, delivery note for the MiFi and lack of receipt for transport,” Rusa noted.
FÐC also went ahead and purchased a podium in contravention of the donor financial guidelines. FDC president Patrick Amuriat Oboì conceded that he had received Rusa’s letter. “We are in the process of carrying out administrative action to ensure that we respond to demands of NIMD,” a guarded Oboi said, referring UGANDANZ to Nandala for the finer details of the party’s response.
Nandala said he had not yet received the letter, but angrily demanded to know who had leaked it to the press. “Who gave you the letter? Where did you get it? Ask the person who gave it to you? Are they (NIMD) the ones who gave jito the press? I do not have it. I have not received it,” Mafabi said, before switching off the phone.
For a party that prides itself in being at the center stage of ending what its top echelon describes as corrosive corruption in the ruling government, submitting forged accountability for a niggardly shl8m must be a cause for soul-searching.