The Chairperson of the parliamentary committee on Gender labor and social development, Hon. Florence Kabahenda, has become the unsung hero of the artiste’s fraternity after she blocked a suspected pillage of a whooping 30billion shillings disguised by the Uganda National Cultural Center as funds to establish regional studios for artists.
This was after the committee shockingly discovered that the origin of the request for the funds was from a combined cocoon of persons from the ministry of Gender, selected personalities from the Uganda National Cultural Center (UNCC), National Cultural Forum (NCF) and the Uganda Musicians Association (UMA).
It is alleged that the Gender ministry cartel is headed by Hon. Betty Amongi and Hon. Peace Mutuzo while that from UNCC is spearheaded by the Executive director Francis Peter Ojede and the board Chairman Okello Kelo Whilst the NCF is represented by Daniel Kazibwe.
Amongi subscribed to the opposition UPC party before earning the juicy land’s ministerial post and still counting, in NRM governance. She is a spouse to the leader of UPC, Jimmy Akena. Akena is the son of the founding UPC president, departed Militon Obote who also became the first independent President of the country Uganda. Akena represents Lira municipality where his father started his political journey as a representative in LEGCO for National politics.
Reverting to the matter at hand, while the cartel had initially succeeded in maneuvering their ploy in a clandestine and synchronized formation through various channels and pre-qualification procedures at the ministry, they hit a snag when they met up with the parliamentary Gender, labor and social welfare committee.
Little did they know that a whistle blower had prior to their interfacing with the committee, provided a neat dossier which implicated the above members of the cartel and busted the half-baked proposal that was being ‘sold’ for the money to be approved. Indeed, armed with this information that seemed to be credible and of high value, Hon. Kabahenda, tasked the team to provide the feasibility study report on the said regional studio project which task they failed.
She went ahead and tasked them to provide an updated quantitative management estimated report for the various pre-selected regional studios overheads to no avail. When the team failed to give any satisfactory evidence on any of the issues at hand, Kabahenda and her committee decided that the allotment of the said 33bn shillings be suspended until further notice.
It is after this revelation that Daniel Kazibwe, the chairman of NCF, a body which houses over 50 associations in the sector, now maintained that as a body, they had not been consulted by the people who were chasing for the money. Others like Charles Tyaba who is the General Secretary of Uganda Film Association also denied being consulted.
A request by the UNCC for UGX1bn to upgrade the theatre was suspended too, for the committee to consider a proposal from a selected group of artistes’ fraternity who have requested that the said monies be channeled into renovating and revamping the national theatre. They want the funds to be conditioned on the overhaul in the current management of the UNCC, to save the funds from what they call misappropriation.
Additionally, the committee also tasks the UNCC management to account for the UGX7.6Bn supplementary allocation that was meant for the contentious E- concerts. The most puzzling thing about the UGX33Bn in question is that, it is yet to be established who exactly requested for the dimes.
It should be noted that much as there are squabbles and friction at times between the UNCC’s Ojedde, Sam Okello Kello and Daniel Kazibwe, when it comes to matters to do with finance, they stand united until all lingering questions are settled by those concerned.
Enter Hon Betty Amongi, Peace Mutuuzo;
The same whistle blower, allegedly points the accusing figure at top figures at the ministry. They cite, among others, Hon. Betty Amogi and Hon. Peace Mutuuzo. It is said that though Amongi gives off the façade of a simple woman, she is reportedly sly when it comes to issues to do with finances.
A story is told of how Amongi allegedly hijacked the UGX100k mobile money Covid 19 Relief cash from the ministry technocrats who she reportedly exploited since they were fresh at the job. This influence peddling led to the disorganization and collapse of the ‘project’ triggering investigations which are ongoing, much as insiders assert, the probe could end up being interfered with.
Many in the entertainment sector have welcomed the move by Kabahenda’s committee. They pray that the same takes keener interest in the activities of UNCC, NCF, and UMA by instituting a commission of inquiry into the ownership and management of the UNCC center aka the Uganda National Theatre.
To this alteration scam of the ownership of the people’s national center, we shall revert soon, after we commission a probe into the scam. We are also investigating Amongi dealings while at the Lands ministry and indeed watch the space for the same.
- Mr. Jacko David Waluluka is another unique entertainment and general investigative news writer, a field he has diligently covered for over fifteen years. He’s also the Chief Administrator at The Investigator. He can easily be reached via [email protected]
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