Rakai’s Mugabi faces censure over Shs 74m

Robert Benon Mugabi, the Rakai district chairman, is fighting for his political survival after a section of the district councillors embarked on a process to censure him on allegations of financial impropriety.

At least 12 out the 24 district councillors have endorsed a motion that seeks to throw Mugabi out of office for allegedly mismanaging more than Shs 74m.

On September 4, the councillors led by Jessica Muhiirwe (Kibanda Sub County), wrote to the Local government minister Tom Butime asking him to take action against the district chairman.

The letter was endorsed by the district speaker Charles Ssegirinya.

Mugabi’s troubles stem from a 2013/2014 audit which discovered Mugabi used the money on unplanned for activities.

The money was withdrawn from the district departmental accounts in the first and second quarter of 2013/2014 but he failed to account for it.

For instance, as Secretary for Works, Mugabi withdrew Shs 3.5m for monitoring of road works in the district but there isn’t any report about the inspected activities.

He further withdrew Shs 21m for travel to South Africa to reportedly represent Kooki Chiefdom in a certain conference which was not in the district work plan.

He used Shs 5m for district pledges but did not produce any list acknowledged by the purported recipients.

He also drew Shs 5m in allowances for official duties but did not state the duties nor present any acknowledgment.

He is also accused of having withdrawn Shs18m for condolences but lacked proof that the bereaved families received the money.

DISRESPECT

Some councillors accuse Mugabi of being disrespectful on grounds that he has previously been summoned to appear before the district’s Local Government Public Accounts Committee but ignored the summons.

“We summoned him in October 2014 he refused and gave him another chance to appear in January 2015 but he deliberately refused until when I left the position. We call this disrespect,” said John Kasiiba.

Kasiiba argued that, due to the misappropriations, various district projects have stagnated.

Mugabi is also being accused of chronic absenteeism which affects district work.

He is said to have declined to return the district vehicle he took to his home for over one year now.

According to Muhiirwe, the district council wrote to Mugabi to return the car hand it over to the works department but he remained adamant.

“Until now he has not given reasons why he does not return the car to help the district,” Muhiirwe said.

Herman Wangi, the councilor for Lwanda sub-county said they have been at crossroads with Mugabi for over the last 5 years on matters concerning financial mismanagement and failure to account for the funds.

MUGABI’S TAKE

Speaking to the IntelPost Mugabi accused some councillors of being used by his political opponents.

He said, the allegations against him are false and baseless, grounds that he said would defeat the censure motion.

Section 21of Local Government Act gives councilors powers to censure the executive member of council, if they are dissatisfied with the conduct or performance of the members of the executive committee.

A council may, by resolution supported by not less than half of all the members of the council, pass a vote of censure against a member of the district executive committee.