A group of disgruntled lecturers have petitioned the Inspector General of Government (IGG) to intervene and forestall the perpetuation of a fraudulent job scam at Kyambogo University.
In a whistleblower petition which was received by the IGG earlier this year, the lecturers want vice chancellor Prof. Eli Katunguka and his deputy in charge of Finance & Administration, associate professor Fabian Nabugoomu to be investigated for crafting an underhand ploy which will see the latter illegally extend his tenure at the Kampala-based public university.
Documents received by our inspectors reveal that this latest scandal to dog this scandal-plagued tertiary institution began the moment it occurred to Nabugoomu and his close allies that the law had finally caught up with him to retire.
As per the law, a Deputy Vice chancellor can only serve in the position for a five year term renewable only once.
Records show that following a long stint as Lecturer at government’s Makerere University, Nabugoomu would later join the private Uganda Christian University (UCU), where he even became an Associate Professor.
In 2014, however, he jumped at the opportunity to become DVC Finance & Admin at Kyambogo University, later earning a renewal of tenure.
We have however learnt that Nabugoomu’s second (and last contract as per law) expired last week on Monday April 17, 2023.
The fraud begins
While there’s no law prohibiting Nabugoomu from seeking another opportunity, the manner in which he is trying to jump at it is what has caused discontent, anguish and pandemonium at the university.
According to the petition with the IGG titled SYSTEMATIC AND SYNDICATE ABUSE OF OFFICE AND CORRUPTION AT KYAMBOGO UNIVERSITY), concern is being raised regarding the secret manner in which Nabugoomu, assisted by his boss the VC, want him to get the new job which we have learnt is Associate Professor Mathematics.
The petitioners informed the IGG that despite Kyambogo being an equal opportunity employer, the university bosses are covertly pushing for the appointment of Nabugoomu to the position without following the legal due process.
“Kyambogo University has not advertised for a position of associate professor (mathematics). However, Ass. Prof. Nabugoomu has applied for this position well knowing that it is wrong to apply for a position which has not been advertised or solicited for by the university through its formal channels,” the petition reads, in part.
We have learnt that despite this glaring illegality, the fraudulent process to award Nabugoomu this particular position is in advanced stages. For instance, on January 24, 2023, the University bosses directed the dean faculty of science to assess the Nabugoomu’s application for appointment, which exercise took place at the university science boardroom.
According to the petition, this in itself was an action of coercion laced with illegality. Firstly, university law demands that Heads of Department are elected by staff within the particular faculty or department but for a long time this has not been done. Instead, most heads of the department are appointed by the vice chancellor on acting capacity. This, the petitioners say is a ploy to breed conflicting loyalties during times of critical policy formulation like in this particular case.
In fact, it has emerged that during this unlawful assessment of Nabugoomu, most of the heads of department were discontented with what they were doing but had no choice lest they ‘bite the hand of the king’.
“The file of Nabugoomu’s assessment and related documents are with the dean faculty of science… but with whom is he competing and was therefore assessed? This is clear abuse of office and impunity which must be condemned by every clear-headed citizen,” the petitioners further aver.
The petitioners also allege that the reason they want Nabugoomu to at least be subjected to proper recruitment processes, if needed anyway, is that with him at the helm of the university’s finances and administration, there have been glaring administrative gaps for which he can be held directly responsible. This therefore doesn’t make him a necessarily indispensable officer the university can’t do without.
It is for instance highlighted to the IGG that most teaching departments at the university don’t have adequate staff (most are part-time), with one department of leather & textile technology having just ONE fulltime staff.
He is also faulted for continuing to look on as the quality of graduates at the university continues to decline. This, the petitioners say, is due to inexperience of the acting heads of department who have led to some courses taking on rosy titles while their content is completely different and doesn’t prepare the students competently for the job market.
Also, Nabugoomu is partly held responsible for the mess at the Mechanical Engineering Workshop where he is said to have chaired the meeting which irregularly sold off useful training equipment which has never been replaced to date.
The university has also been perennially dogged by delayed or nonpayment of staff, which has greatly affected the quality of teaching at the institution, particularly the selling of marks or examinations by disgruntled and broke lecturers.
It is on the basis of such allegations that the petitioners want the IGG to swift intervene in this matter to stop the perpetuation and injustice and maladministration which has become child’s play at Kyambogo.
STUDENTS RAISE SOS ALARM
Interestingly, the mess at Kyambogo University doesn’t affect only lecturers, with students also feeling the heat and thus praying for divine intervention and a lasting end to the seemingly endless suffering.
For instance, on February 10, 2023, a disgruntled student rallied his colleagues to stand up for their rights, saying the reckless abandon and impunity with which the university bosses are messing up the university is a threat to their future. The public petition titled “IT IS TIME TO WAKE UP AND FACE REALITY” came shortly after many students missed graduation on account of flimsy reasons including lecturers not marking the examinations in time, awarding of magical marks to students by some corrupt lecturers in exchange for bribes and other goodies, among others.
Below is the verbatim version of the public petition which the students shared widely on their social media pages:
Dear fellow students of Kyambogo University,
IT IS TIME TO WAKE UP AND FACE REALITY
We cannot keep in this kind of condition forever. We have suffered enough under the uncaring system of administration at Kyambogo University. It is surprising and disheartening the way this university is being run as if there is completely no structure that governs the operations of the university.
We are in the university for a period of time and our main purpose is academics. This seems to be the most ignored service offered despite the fact that Kyambogo University is an academic institution and academics should be the core and primary function and activity. However, the priorities of the managers are completely misplaced.
Painfully, in the last graduation of December 2022, very many would-be graduands missed graduation for flimsy and careless reasons like; examination marks were not uploaded on the e-result system for the reason that their case would be handled later. This is ambiguous and high level of irresponsibility. Moreover, many of these would-be graduands appealed to the Vice Chancellor who only, as usual, became very arrogant and uncaring.
Furthermore, because of the very many part-time lecturers who openly complain that they take very long to be paid, some of them demand money from students and without it, the students are failed. We are also aware of alteration of marks and even awarding marks without marking the actual scripts. Some students are targeted for sex thus inflicting psychological torture on female students. In addition, lectures are conducted outside the timetable and some of those privately arranged lectures coincide with other lectures, thus making many students miss such lectures. As if that is not bad enough, some lecturers don’t appear for lectures the whole semester. So, some course units are not taught but examinations are set and somehow marks are awarded. We wonder when all this is happening, where is the management of this institution. In any case, what do they manage?
Even more disheartening is the fact that, year in and year out, there are unexplained massive retakes and this is an area where money is demanded from students. In fact, the majority of students end up with marks that are not theirs (imaginary marks).
For some of us students who reside within the university student hostels, the conditions are appalling. It is as if we are being subjected to some form of imprisonment for a crime not disclosed to us.
Also, there is this involvement of mean-looking armed personnel in the administration of university examinations which is scaring, uncalled for and uncivilized to the extent that some students are handcuffed from the examination rooms for flimsy reasons of either not paying surcharge or failure of the e-payment system to reflect students’ payments. This system failure is rampant to the disadvantage of students, making some of them miss one full academic year. (Why would any sensible person order for handcuffing of students in an examination room for a crime not in the law books?)
As the armed personnel are focusing on what is not their core responsibility, students’ property are being stolen, students are waylaid within the university campus and robbed. In the process, some female students are raped but choose to keep quiet and remain psychologically tortured for they have nowhere to turn to because everybody in the institution appears to be arrogant, uncaring and irresponsible.
Most painful in some cases, the security personnel at the gates choose to chase away students who are returning to the campus at night without considering the danger involved in their actions.
Despite the students’ suffering, talking to some members of staff also reveals much heavier frustrations as they will tell you about how the administrative system in the university has broken with massive mismanagement and corruption.
I only wish the kind of investigations currently going on at National Social Security Fund (NSSF) could come to Kyambogo University, the country would be shocked to their bone marrow. There is a lot of wrong, injustice and fraud going on.
Dear students, we cannot keep quiet forever. Let us rise up, speak up and save this institution and the country at large. If the students who came before us failed to do it and went away crying, we should do something differently and make the appropriate authorities aware.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH…
Please share this frustration widely.
ACTION NEEDED AMIDST INTIMIDATION
In light of all the above, the petitioners pray that the government intervenes in the affairs of Kyambogo University before the institution rots beyond rescue.
“We have raised our concerns for a long time now, but each time the perpetrators of the impunity taunt us that there’s nothing we can do because they have godfathers at State House,” said one of the lecturers.