The inside story of the fight between Uganda’s diplomats in Algeria
Following reports that government had frozen the account of the Ugandan embassy in Algeria and Magreb region over bickering in regards to management of resources, Intel Post has seen correspondences between the officials which point to the root cause of the fight.
The ambassador to Algeria and the Maghreb region John Chrysostom Alintuma Nsambu wrote to the mission’s accounting officer Fredrick Tushabe on March 18th tasking him to forward all the embassy financial details.
The documents demanded include staff files for local and home based staff, files for mission properties, minutes of the finance committee meetings for the past five years, and a copy of the mission’s procurement file.
He directed Tushabe to hand the documents to the administrative attaché
Nsambu also called for a meeting to discuss the mission’s failure to pay staff their salaries as well as accumulated utility bills.
Nsambu added in his letter that failure to do this should be responded to in writing giving reasons why.
IntelPost has learnt that a meeting was convened in April 9 to discuss the financial challenges at the embassy including non payment of local embassy workers.
Some of the embassy workers not paid have written to the embassy to have their funds provided.Some of the officials use their personal airtime to make officials calls for the embassies and now demand a refund, while some have bought clothing for diplomatic meetings meant to be refunded by the embassy.
On the same date of April 9th, Dennis Kalikola, the second secretary at the embassy wrote to the Permanent secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs demanding payment of allowances worth Shs 24.7m covering areas of education, child, climatic clothing and warm clothing allowances plus a top on his flexible spending account for the months of February and March when he got a promotion.
“The usual reason given is that funds are not available to meet these obligations. This letter serves to seek your guidance on the way forward and administrative intervention as the financial year draws to an end,” Kalikola says in the letter.
However a source at the embassy says Tushabe reported that the government had not yet given the money, and that’s why the financial challenges were taking place.
It is said that after a meeting to resolve financial challenges on April 29th , the top officers at the embassy including Nsambu, Tushabe and Samsom Kamugendera, the financial attaché were meant to travel to Tunis to reconcile the financial gaps, but other than Nsambu, the two officers turned down the travel despite travel tickets being procured.
It is reported that the officials at the embassy transferred Shs 104.13m to their personal accounts according to a letter to the bank dated April 22.
According to Nsambu, the officials forged a letter. He says as the head of mission, he was supposed to be present at the withdrawal of any funds, but the officers manipulated the system and withdraw funds.
However on May 3, the accused, Tushabe wrote to Nsambu a letter saying he has the right to keep the documents as the accounting officer.
“As accounting officer, and in fulfilment of the functions [of an accounting officer] as listed in the Public Finance Management Act 2015, I reserve the right to keep the documents that support my duties in fulfilment of the [my] functions,” Tushabe wrote.
He also said in case there are things that Nsambu missed, they will be able to brief him.
It is reported that Nsambu blocked the the accused officers from access to the mission’s bank account in Tunis.
Reports also indicate that Tushabe reported the head of mission to Kampala for blocking their access to the embassy funds.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ undersecretary James Kintu in a May 14 letter directed both and all other embassy staff against making any expenses until an audit is done when the audit team heads to Algiers on May 29th.