Report pins Makerere University secretary over gown scandal

Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Professor Barnabas Nawangwe

Kampala, Uganda | URN | Makerere University Secretary, Charles Barugahare was responsible for the gown scandal which marred the 70th graduation ceremony, the Vice Chancellor Professor Barnabas Nawangwe has revealed.

According to Professor Nawangwe, internal investigations show that Barugahare flouted several procurement guidelines during the procurement of Team Uniform Ltd, a private firm to supply 13,500 gowns for the graduation that took place in January 2020.

The contractor only managed to deliver 6,383 gowns, 900 caps and 6,792 hoods a few days to the event triggering panic among graduands who had already paid for the gowns.

Makerere University had managed to collect up to Shillings 1.3 billion from the 13,500 graduands for the patented gowns. Even the few gowns that were delivered were incomplete.

The university ran to local tailors in Wandegeya to provide additional gowns and save the day. This prompted the university management to institute investigations to understand what had gone wrong.

Now, Professor Nawangwe says investigations pin the University Secretary, Charles Barugahare for the mess. He says the investigation team found Barugahare guilty of faulting several procurement guidelines.

“The Accounting Officer did not seek the Solicitor General’s approval of the draft contract document in contravention of Regulation 1 (1) of the PPDA (Contracts) Regulations, 2014 and Statutory Instrument No. 97 of 2014,” Nawangwe quotes findings of investigating team.

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The investigation report also observed that the officer failed to supervise the process of procurement as the accounting officer which led to ‘several anomalies’ during the bidding process, award and management of the contract. “Management has to take action to ensure that the unfortunate incident does not reoccur,” say the Prof Nawangwe.

He has tasked the implicated officer for his own account of the processes undertaken during the procurement of a contractor for supply of graduation gowns from 2015 and show cause why disciplinary action shouldn’t be taken against him.

All along Makerere University was procuring the said gowns from local tailors from Wandegeya until 2017 when they decided to contract a sole supplier so as to provide the patented graduation gowns to the graduands.