By Spy Uganda
Kampala: Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) Chairperson Sylvia Muwebwa Ntambi’s excuses to dodge court summons seem to be counting down after the Anti-Corruption Court Chief Magistrate Pamella Lamunu Ochaya issued last warning against her over her continuous absence from the court reportedly using sickness as excuse.
Last week Ntambi snubbed court summons for the second time saying that she was sick, it is from this background that Magistrate Lamunu today warned her for the last time thus; “I hereby extend summons for the last time, should she fail to appear on October 29, a warrant of arrest shall be issued.” This was after lawyer MacDosman Kabega represented her with medical documents from Medik Hospital indicating that she was suffering from hypertension.
“Your Lordship, my client is admitted at a “big hospital” and is unable to come to court today,” Kabega submitted.
While in court, there was also panic when lawyer Kabega struggled to prove to the Magistrate that his client Ntambi was surely ill as one of his documents stated, while contradicting with a second one which indicated that Ntambi was on “self-admission” which in the real sense meant that she is not ill but used this as a trick of dodging court.
Medik Hospital In Scandals
For our new readers, Medik hospital where ‘on the hunt’ Muwebwa is alleged to be admitted, in 2016 Health advocates sued it with its health workers over negligence and violation of the patient’s rights.
The Center for Health, Human Rights & Development (CEHURD), a civil society organization spearheaded the case of Hadija Najjemba an expectant mother whose uterus was removed without her consent and later detained by the health facility over medical bills.
It all started on 12 May 2016 when Robert Kisitu took his wife to Kikubampanga health centre to deliver before she was referred to Medik hospital in Kakiri Wakiso District where she was operated in bizarre circumstances.
According to Kisitu, the health workers at Medik Health facility denied him information about his wife which resulted in an unprofessional operation that damaged her internal organs that resulted in unbearable pain
Explaining his ordeal Kisitu said at one point Muhammed Mugwanya, reportedly, a worker of the above hospital asked him to cater for the fuel expenses for an ambulance that did not even transport his patient.
“Because I had 40,000 shillings only on me I asked him to take 20,000 shillings…but as we departed ways he came back to me asking for another 20,000 shillings that will facilitate a Boda-boda cyclist who would bring blood for my patient the following morning… and I had to cough it out,” Kisitu said.
Still, on the affordability issue, Najjemba was never discharged when Kisitu asked for a referral letter to go for better medical care and treatment at Mulago Hospital. This was because Medik hospital wanted him to first pay shillings 180, 000 which he could not afford hence the arrest of the patient.
Putting the above scandal aside, the hospital was later closed in the wake of the controversy by Dr Emmanuel Kusasira the Wakiso District Health Officer due to lack of an operation licence, unsuitable health facilities, unqualified nurses and supervisors as well as poor sanitation with continuous death of Ugandans due to poor and unprofessional services at this hospital.
According to Kusasira eight out of 20 mothers who were giving birth at the hospital lost their babies.
Back to Ntambi!!
Background Of EOC Case
Ms Ntambi, Ms Kamahoro and Mr Mpitsi between January 6, 2019, and April 30, 2019, allegedly conspired to defraud the government of more than Shs9m. Under the charge of abuse of office, Mr Mugabe, Mr Mpitsi and Mr Kwihangana are accused of abusing their authority when they fraudulently processed, requisitioned and approved Shs29m in January last year purportedly for undertaking sensitisation programmes in Karamoja Sub-region whereas not.
In a separate count, Ms Kamahoro, Mr Mpitsi, and Mr Olwor in December 2018, allegedly processed, requisitioned and approved Shs19m purportedly for development of the first and second draft of Equal Opportunities Commission HIV/Aids workplace policy, knowing their acts would cause government a financial loss.
According to the dossier addressed to the President seen by TheSpy Uganda, Ntambi is accused among other allegations of promoting tribalism at the Commission causing government losses through dubious travel expenses and allowances, mismanaging the Commission by running it as if it is her own business, to mention but a few.
Diversion Of Commission’s Funds
The dossier states in part; “The Chairperson has created more expenditure lines outside the approved budget so-called ‘Public Relations (PR)’ since the start of this FY 2018/2019. The Chairperson introduced this mischarge at the start of quarter one directing the collection of UGX100 million which they had approved in the Commission meeting.
The allocation had not been approved by the Finance Committee because it was not part of the approved work plans and budget.
The said funds were to work as a kickback to stakeholders who had approved our budget for the year 2018/19; The same said funds were paid and collected through individual staff bank accounts. Later the same funds were handed over to the Chairperson of the Commission, Mrs Muwebwa Ntambi Sylvia.
This act continued during Q2 and Q3 in which the fund was increased to UGX150 million.
Evidence of Q3 collections indicating the individual employees to whom the funds were sent is as follows:
Prof. Sunday Nicholas Olwor – 14 million, Kamahoro Enid – 13 million, Nassanga Sarah – 5 million Atukunda Susan – 6 million, Mugisha James – 12 million, Kwesiga Ronnie – 12 million, Kwihangana Manasseh – 13 million, Sylvia Muwebwa Ntambi – 13 million.
The above collections relate only to Q3 of FY 2018/19. The hinds were collected, handed over to the Chairperson on 7th March 2019 at Kampala International University – Kansanga between 5/6 pm or thereabouts.”
The whistleblower asserts that this diversion denied the Commission an opportunity to implement activities as per the approved work plan and budget in favour of Public Relations costs which were never provided for.
“It is obvious that this act of diversion was meant for self-enrichment by Ms Sylvia Ntambi, the Chairperson. This has subsequently caused budget under-performance and a breach of contract with the appropriating body and the public,” the petitioner continues.