Makerere University officials on the spot over non-disclosure of investments

Makerere University officials on the spot over non-disclosure of investments
Makerere University main building

Kampala, Uganda | URN | Top Makerere University officials are on spot for allegedly refusing to disclose information regarding the institution’s investment deals to auditors.

The Audit Committee of Council headed by Counsel Kiryowa Kiwanuka has asked that the matters regarding the non-disclosures by the officials be forwarded to police and the IGG for investigation and determination of whether the institution has any investments and if so how much.

“Members of the committee noted that the University Secretary was invited in previous meetings but up to now he has failed to provide information on the amount of University investments,” says Kiryowa in a December 2019 report to Council.

“To-date the Committee has been unable to have answers and get proof of the investment documents. The University Management finds it appropriate to give information to external auditors and refuse to give information to Committee of Council,” adds Kiryowa in a report.

Discussions on the non-disclosures by the university officials on its investments in the financial statements started in July 2019 during the institution’s 33rd Audit Committee meetings.

Members Audit Committee whose secretariat is Walter Yorac Nono, the institution’s Director Internal Audit had instructed invitation of the then University Accounting Officer Charles Barugahare to appear and give an update on the status of investments.

“The University Secretary appeared before the Committee on 19th November 2019 and reported that the University needed to evaluate its investments but they had not got approval of the investments managers. The committee then observed that the matter was not accorded the seriousness it deserves,” says a member of the committee who preferred anonymity.

He adds that; “It was agreed then that the University Secretary communicates to the committee in writing whether or not the University had investments, and if so to state the value of those investments and also list the Managers of those investments.”

This publication has established that in the continuation meeting held on December 9th 2019, the University Secretary sent a representative identified as Consolate Komugisha, an accountant in University Secretary’s Office.

In her explanation to the audit committee, Komugisha reportedly said the external auditors were finalizing their audit of the University investments, after which the University Secretary would provide the information to the committee.

Komugisha also explained to the Council Audit Committee that there were two organizations that handle the institution’s investments which included the Endowment Fund and the Mak Holdings Company Limited.

The University Council by policy establishes and supports Internal Audit as an independent appraisal function to examine and evaluate University activities/operations as a service to management and Council of Makerere University.

In an October 2019 petition by Makerere University Concerned Staff to President Museveni, the staff claimed Makerere University Holdings Company Ltd (Mak Holdings Ltd), a private company created as the investment arm of the University is being run by a clique of individuals in the University Council and Management to defraud the institution.

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Entrusted with the management and implementation of the University’s multi-million-dollar Infrastructure Master Plan, the company is operating outside established regulations governing public institutions and without any supervision by Council.

“It was through the dubious dealings of Mak Holdings Ltd and ENSAfrica Advocates that the University is at the verge of losing several of its prime lands,” says concerned staff in a petition to Museveni.

Registered and incorporated in 2014, staff say the company entered deal with two firms PDM (Holdings) Limited, an East African real estate company and Southern Palace Group Consortium, a South African Business Firm popular for its dealings in Real Estate to develop some of the University intended projects.