The Presidency Minister, Milly Babirye Babalanda has tasked the newly appointed Board of Directors of the Uganda Printing and Publishing Corporation– UPPC to urgently consider restructuring the entity. She made the call while responding to accusations against her raised by the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament on Commissions, Statutory Authority, and State Enterprises (PAC-COSASE) relating to the operations of the government-owned corporation.
Led by its Chairperson Joel Ssenyonyi, COSASE is probing the alleged mismanagement and corruption in the Corporation following a red flag raised in the Auditor General’s report for Financial Year 2021/2022. In a qualified opinion, the Auditor General cited staffing gaps, understated tax liabilities, absence of a functional Board, and misstatement of the investment by UPPC in a joint venture with Veridos Identity Solutions GmbH, a consortium of German companies that led to the formation of Uganda Security Printing Company Limited among others.
Babalanda told the Committee that currently, the UPPC management is facing a crisis as a result of several senior managers being implicated in the ongoing corruption investigations while others are already charged in the anti-corruption Court. According to the Minster, some of the affected top officers include John Baptist Ahimbisibwe, Catherine Ayebare, Victoria Namulondo, and former Board Chairperson, Prof. Tom Davis Wasswa among others, a situation that has crippled the Corporation for nearly two years.
She revealed that for the time she has been overseeing UPPC operations, many internal fights have hindered the smooth operations of the entity, which the incoming Board must urgently address ‘through restructuring of the organization’ to cause the desired reforms. During the probe that started last week, Ssenyonyi expressed disappointment that the UPPC officials including the Acting Managing Director, Kenneth Oluka, and Connie Aryada, the Corporation Secretary were green about the entity under their care.
Oluka admitted that ever since being appointed to the position, it has not been easy to understand the operations of the entity following the interdiction of the top managers and suspension of the Board.
As stated in the Auditor General’s report, UPPC’s profit dropped from Shillings 3.383 billion in the period that ended June 2021 to Shillings 1.204 billion by June 2022.
However, Babalanda revealed that in its Monday sitting Cabinet approved a nine-member Board of Directors for UPPC to be chaired by Veteran Journalist and former Editor at New Vision and the East Africa Newspaper, Joachim Buwembo.
The other members are Sadat Kisuyi, Jolly Kamugira Kaguhangire, Alice Muhozi, Andrew Kibaya, Hellen Icumar Judith, Jimmy Karugaba, and Noah Bukenya as well as Connie Aryada, the Secretary. UPPC is a public enterprise that is fully owned by Government. It was established in 1992 by the UPPC Act and does the printing of all Bills, Statutes, and official Gazette.