KAMPALA, Uganda: All is not well at the Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) where its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Alhaj Ibrahim Kaddunabbi Lubega is accused of several tribes of irregularities ranging from conflict of interest to massive mismanagements of funds and assets, The Investigator reports.
The accusations are enveloped in a lengthy dossier penned by an investigative whistle-blower to the Inspector General of Government (IGG) and the Auditor General. Titled “Mismanagement and corruption at Insurance Regulatory Authority by the Chief Executive Officer Alhajji Kadunabi Ibrahim Lubega,” the December 17th 2017 dated missive, we have established, has dully been received by both offices for pending investigation. Below are the allegations in detail;
Corruption: The man from Butambala is accused of corruption. It is stated that in June 2015, he wanted Yasin Bukenya, a driver of the authority, also believed to be his brother, to go and study an insurance related course at the expense of IRA. Kaddunabbi is here faulted of bending the organisation policy which states that IRA never funds staff education out of their line of duty. “A driver can be funded to study defensive driving to better his skills just like an insurance officer can be funded to study liability claim management but not the reverse,” reads the dossier.
It’s alleged that Kaddunabbi insisted that his brother had to take on the course despite his knowledge that it was against the authority’s policy. More still he is accused of giving the same brother (Bukenya Yasin) an undeserved salary increment without the board’s knowledge, not to mention one hundred thousand shillings every weekend in allowances regardless of whether he worked or not.
Misuse of Police Personnel: Whereas there is a clear policy by government to provide special security to its VIPs, claims the report, Kaddunabbi reportedly abused the same as some of the sixteen (16) policemen and one officer meant to be deployed to guard IRA are actually deployed to guard his hostel in one of the Kampala suburbs, an act that is tantamount to abuse of office and as well the number of policemen is unnecessarily too big given the ratio of police to Ugandan citizens.
The former MP is as well accused of having six policemen to guard his two wives at his homes in addition to a bodyguard. “Is it by law and in order for every VIP to be given policemen to guard all his homes? One wonders whether that is the proper use of policemen given the many needs Uganda has as a country or these are part of his terms of employment?” reads on the dossier.
Hire of Ghost Staff: Whereas as stated, the CEO has enough number of policemen at his disposal, he reportedly proceeded to have a night security guard by the names of Rashid Muwonge. However, internal investigations revealed that the night guard is inexistent and not a single IRA staff can identify him. It is recorded that from the time of his recruitment he never appeared at the IRA offices and that everything is signed for him by Yasin Bukenya on the instructions of the CEO Kaddunabbi. Intriguingly, whereas all IRA staff are entitled to transport allowance this particular faceless night guard is reported to have a fuel card to his name which was still signed for him by Yasin Bukenya implying that this special night guard ‘had a car which from which he guards at night.’
On top of the above, the assumed ghost worker earns Shs1.5m a month, again through his only signatory Yasin Bukenya both of whom are Kaddunabbi’s religion and clan-mates. Whereas an audit was carried out and the hire of this ghost guard and policemen were simultaneously queried and halted, the money that was dubiously spent was never refunded by Kaddunabbi and Yasin.
Corruption on foreign trips: Probably one of the most travelled CEOs in the country, Kaddunabbi is faulted of abusing the travels’ policy. “We are well aware that the government policy on air travel dictates that one should use the shortest, cheapest and direct route to any destination, however in May 2013 the CEO travelled to Cairo to attend the AIO conference and decided to travel via Dubai giving him an extra day’s per diem,” reads the dossier whose framers seem to be knowledgeable insiders.
On the same trip, a fellow staff member Ayelo Cynthia and board members who were travelling to the same destination travelled via Addis Ababa, which was a recommendable direct route and used only six days in comparison to Kaddunabbi’s seven days. While abroad, he reportedly proceeded to have instructed the IRA Kampala office to process extra per diem for the team much as they had used only six days.
Upon completion of the audit was, the trip expenses were queried and the board members were asked to refund the per diem of the extra day. It is recorded that all refunded the money apart from Kaddunabbi’s extra day which was added on just because he had chosen the longer route for purposes of sightseeing and shopping which is common when it comes to Dubai. “Taking extra days on such trips is common and an unnecessary expense to the country.”
Scam in vehicle procurement: It is revealed the previous board of IRA approved the procurement of three vehicles for the CEO and two other directors at an estimated figure of UGX698, 700,000 for all the three. However, when the new board, whose most members are friends with Kaddunabbi, came into office, the flamboyant CEO requested for an extra UGX205, 335,618 claiming it as deficit which was caused by lack of adequate market knowledge at the time of budgeting in addition to the substantial deprecation of the Uganda shilling against the dollar.
Nevertheless, investigations unveil that the CEO instead wanted a newer model with extra specifications much more than what had been planned, budgeted for and approved by the previous board. Worse still it is alleged he went ahead and bought an inferior motor vehicle than what was budgeted for. At this, the whistle blowers requested for investigation into the entire procurement process to ascertain the actual value of Kaddunabbi’s motor vehicle at the time of purchase. “But most of the procurement processes are marred with controversy because the CEO goes ahead and follows each and every procurement at every stage for personal desired results,” reads the four-page dossier.
Double Payment: It has been put to the IGG and Auditor General that whereas like in most government institution staff travel to earn, regardless of the necessity of the trip or not, Kaddunabbi reportedly takes most of the trips. And in the case of IRA, some trips are fully funded by the organisers but Kaddunabbi is accused of proceeding to seek full payment from the authority. For example, all trips to the Africa Insurance Organisation (AIO) for the time he has been and still is on the executive committee are paid for by AIO, but Kaddunabbi reportedly goes ahead and claim full payment from IRA. He allegedly takes most of the foreign training trips. “This is an indication of either a poorly trained person who needs to train to the level of a CEO or greed for the per-diem,” reads the missive adding; “actually the budget spent on the CEO is almost half of the entire budget of the authority that employs around 40 staff members. This level of extravagancy can be a result of either incompetence or greed on the side of the CEO.”
Conflict of Interest: The Insurance Act 2011 prohibits a director, shareholder and or staff of one insurance company or broker firm to be a director in another insurance company. However, Hajji Twaha Kawaase a relative of Kaddunabbi is a director in Mash Insurance Uganda and it is widely alleged that it’s Kaddunabbi who allowed this anomaly by letting Kawaase to be a director in Uganda RE Insurance Company, a clear sign of abetting an illegality and flouting of the law on the side of the Insurance Regulator boss.
Staff Recruitment: Another intriguing scenario in the course of the investigations is the reality that the CEO hires a lot of his relative, clansmen, people from his religion, friends’ relatives and the worst bit is that most of them are having wanting qualifications and experience. The dossier further calls for an audit in the Human Resource department to ascertain the eligibility, experience and competence of all staff hired in the past seven years.
“We have also learnt that an exercise that would lead to recruitment of more staff was carried out around two years ago but up to now the CEO has not okayed the exercise to start as he prepares his own people to take up all the positions. Imagine some people are already claiming to have got these jobs yet the actual recruitment exercise hasn’t started.”
The authors further requested for a thorough investigation in the pending recruitment exercise as well as the qualification and experience of the would-be recruited staff and going forward, how the exercise will be carried out. “This planned recruitment process by the CEO is a firm step that will pull the authority into unprofessional or a clan or religion club.”
Financial loss: When his initial contract was about to expire, Kaddunabbi reportedly requested the board to renew it and when the board asked him to step aside as they appraised him, he went ahead and sued the authority. After its renewal the entire court process left the authority with a hefty legal bill of about UGX200M which he allegedly refused to pay since the external lawyers were “against” him.
To make matters even worse this money could be accumulating interest. It is further intriguing that a senior member of staff would sue an organisation which has the right to renew or not renew one’s contract. More on this, much as he is reported to frustrate the payment of the legal firm which the authority hired, he wants the legal team that represented him in the same suit, led by his wife to be paid by the authority!
Building project: According to authentic sources, IRA is in the process of building its own premises. The entire project is alleged to be marred with a lot of inaccuracies and over inflated. Investigations have unearthed information that construction of IRA shell is going to cost UGX28Bn. Even when the building is planned to have 10 floors, the UGX28Bn is for constructing just a shell of only a basement and 3 floors! “We request for an audit for the entire construction project where the CEO had a very big role to play including selecting bidding companies. There are so many hair raising irregularities that make me wonder if the board (The CEO brags openly to be in his control) is in the know of what exactly is going on in the authority.”
Investigations also unearthed that when Uganda Revenue Authority requested for IRA to help them in procuring insurance services, Kaddunabbi recommended a staff member with no insurance qualifications for the job and indeed did a very shabby job which back fired.
The IRA top boss is also accused of increasing his salary on an annual basis by over or about UGX5M each time he does so. He’s further accused of poor administration, always walks into office around 10 – 11 am and leaves between 2 – 3 pm daily… “And the biggest part of his time in office is spent on the phone, watching CCTV camera monitoring staff movements and watching TV.” Efforts to reach Mr. Kaddunabbi for his take were futile as his known cell phone went unanswered all the time we tried him out.