Parliament has asked the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs to prepare a report on the state of affairs at the Electoral Commission (EC) following the sacking of eight senior officials over corruption-related accusations.
On Tuesday, President Yoweri Museveni ordered for the sacking of long-serving EC secretary, Sam Rwakoojo, the director finance and administration, Joseph Lwanga, head of procurement, Godfrey Wanyoto, the commission’s spokesperson, Jotham Taremwa, the director of information technology, Pontius Namugera, networks administrator, Jordan Lubega, data specialists Charles Musuza and Edgar Kasigwa.
On Wednesday, Kira Municipality MP, Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda raised the matter on the floor Parliament, demanding for an explanation as to why the Attorney General, William Byaruhanga, or the Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister, Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu had refused to respond to earlier queries about the procurement process for the printing of ballot papers ahead of the 2021 general elections.
“I did inform Parliament that one of the candidates at the presidential level had taken away [the responsibility of procuring of a contractor for the printing of ballot papers] from the EC and contracted a German company called Veridos to print the ballot papers, and you did, Madam Speaker, direct the Attorney General and the Minister to come and explain,” Ssemujju said.
According to Ssemujju, the Electoral Commission completed the bidding process and submitted papers to the Attorney General for advice. However, the process was stopped after the EC edged out Veridos Identity Solutions, a company favoured by Museveni.
“Today, we read in the newspapers that eight senior officials have been interdicted because they canceled this deal by one of the candidates… I need to be guided as to why the Attorney General and the minister of Justice keep evading this question on why a bidding process that picked a competent company is now being stopped by one of the candidates who handpicked a German company to do the job,” he said.
Reports indicate that the EC had been directed to give the ballot printing deal to Uganda Printing and Publishing Corporation (UPPC) but in the process of verification discovered that Veridos, the company that had won the bid to transmit election results had a stake in UPPC.
Veridos Identity Solutions entered into a joint venture with UPPC in 2016 to print money and other security printing deals.
Parliament Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga directed that the Attorney General together with the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs give Parliament an explanation on controversies surrounding the procurement of ballot papers and the reported dismissal of staff at the Electoral Commission.
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