Before he was knifed as prime minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda penned a missive to the Inspector General of Government. The purpose of his letter was to investigate, prosecute and terminate contracts for several officials within the National Genetic Resources Center and Data Bank (NAGRC &DB) on allegations of engaging in illegal sale of over 1000 cows and goats on government farms of Ruhengere and Nsharaa.
A disgusted Rugunda according to our Inspectors also wanted the Inspector General of Police Okoth Ochola to use his means and help in this mind boggling saga. This was sometime in 2018 when (now sacked) Charles Lagu was at the whelm of NAGRC& DB as it’s executive director.
Then minister for agriculture animal industry and fisheries Vincent Ssempijja set the ball in motion after he summarily fired Lagu and the then chairman board-Johnson Nkuuhe upon learning that animals were disappearing under unclear circumstances. However, the duo according to what we gathered seemed to enjoy the protection of then state minister for agriculture Joy Kabatsi (at the time). So nasty the scandal was, that the premier directed the IG and IGP to take up the matter which we understood was surfacing for the second time after that of 2015.
Our Field Inspectors quoted the Rugunda letter to have been penned on April 30/2018 and that therein, Rugunda opposed a request for the matter to be probed internally by MAAIF which oversees NAGRC &DB. Ssempijja had proposed this internal probe.
We understood that after Ssempijja fired the ED Charles Lagu and board chairman Johnson Nkuhe, he notified the Premier about his action. Rugunda according to available brief on April 27/2018 summoned a meeting attended by Ssempijja, 1st deputy premier Moses Ali and himself which discussed this embarrassing situation at NAGRC.
“The meeting resolved that the scandal shouldn’t be probed internally but by police” an inspector explained.
As such, Dr. Rugunda in his letter entitled ‘ALLEGED SALE OF COWS FROM RUHENGYERE AND NSHAARA RANCHES BY NAGRC&DB’ asked the IGP to take up the investigation.
In a letter dated May17/2018, the premier said his office had received information relating to irregular sale of cows from the two ranches under the NAGRC&DB, an agency under MAAIF.
“This is the second time these allegations are made on this agency. The first time was in 2015 where the executive director was mentioned and in this case, the new executive director is mentioned. The purpose of this letter is to request you to expeditiously investigate the allegations to establish the facts as soon as possible and advise on appropriate action” he said in a letter copied to Ssempijja.
Upon asking the Inspector general of government, this office through the deputy IGG (now chairperson UHRC) Mariam Wangadya, asked the suspects to among other things bring certified copies of their personal files, their recruitment, full minutes, proceedings of a ‘contraversial’ meeting held on April26/2018 and allegedly chaired by Kabatsi. It is this meeting that our Inspectors said watered down the decision by Ssempijja to knife the ED and board chairman. Ssempijja had asked the duo to step aside to allow investigations.
So determined she was to protect the duo, that Kabatsi even penned a letter to the commander of the agricultural police Hillary Odoch to disregard Ssempijja’s directive banning any removal/entry of cows into these ranches until investigations were done.
Her letter was dated May8/2018 and she said that ‘under the instruction of hon. Minister Ssempijja, a temporary halt was instituted not to move any animal from the ranch”
She went on ‘At a NAGRC&DB meeting sitting on April26/2018, it was later established that management followed proper procedures and the cows disposed off were paid for by buyers. The purpose of this letter is to ask you to allow the animals that were disposed off to be taken by these traders to avoid litigation issues to the entity” she said though Odoch paid a deaf ear to her letter according to our Inspectors.
BACK AT MAAIF
Our Inspectors reported that on April 20/2018 Ssempijja summoned the board and ED of NAGRC&DB. The meeting was meant to discuss a crisis in which government cows and goats totaling over 1000 had disappeared from the two ranches. This detail is contained in a dossier authored by one of the Directors of NAGRC&DB Samuel Semanda. It was addressed to Ssempijja and entitled ‘ANORMALIES IN SALE OF GOVERNMENT COWS AND GOATS’. This meeting flopped as the embattled board chair claimed to be on his way to Nairobi on a family commitment. Here, it is claimed the bosses at NAGRC do their thing by way of alleged falsification of documents relating to contracts committee resolutions, under declaration of cash accruing from the animal sales among others.
M7 Deploys Gen. David Kasura
Tired of getting results from NAGRC, inspectors informed us that Museveni tactfully first sent his anti corruption war queen Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema. She met top brass of the ministry including Ssempijja whom she reportedly quizzed on NAGRC mess and also locusts.
From here, Gen. Museveni decided to overhaul the entire leadership at MAAIF and NAGRC. The executive director was put on katebe while the permanent secretary Pius Wakabi was also knifed in public interest. Museveni didn’t stop at that but also shuffled the political leadership of MAAIF.
We are told, Gen. Kasura’s deployment here was meant to mainly study NAGRC and it’s operations. Kasura is a bush war comrade who was among the first intake at the senior command and staff college Kimaka. He was here alongside Gen. Salim Saleh the coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation. Others were David Tinyefuza, Ivan Koreta, Col. Sula Semakula among others totaling 31 officers. Kasura according to Inspectors in state house had excelled in putting NALI on form, the reason he came to MAAIF. We are told the reason Museveni has been hesitant to make NAGRC autonomous from MAAIF is partly because of alleged negative results.
Watch this space for the latest details PART II