Hon. Francis Mwebesa Orders Suspension of UNBS Executive Director

Friday, July 21, 2023
Mwebesa (L) said he will cause the suspension of Ebiru. PHOTO/PARLIAMENT OF UGANDA
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The Minister of Trade, Industries, and Cooperatives, Hon. Francis Mwebesa, declared his intention to initiate the suspension of David Livingstone Ebiru, the Executive Director of Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), following allegations of fund misappropriation and misconduct.

This revelation came after the minister expressed shock that Ebiru was still occupying his position despite a previous directive issued in June 2023, where the board was instructed to suspend him.

Hon. Mwebesa made this disclosure during his appearance before Parliament’s Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities, and State Enterprises (COSASE). The committee had summoned UNBS to address the Auditor General’s queries for the financial year ended June 2022.

On July 19, 2023, Ebiru confessed to bribing the Chairperson and Board of UNBS with Shs100 million to evade his impending suspension.

Both the Inspectorate of Government (IG) and the Minister of Trade had already recommended the suspension of the Executive Director.

During the committee meeting, Hon. Joel Ssenyonyi, the Chairperson of the Committee, asked the minister to clarify his role in supervising UNBS, given the reports of financial mismanagement and corruption within the organization.

Ssenyonyi also inquired about the minister’s actions regarding the suspension of Ebiru. He pointed out that the minister initially wrote a letter on June 26, 2023, suspending Ebiru for six months but then rescinded the decision in another letter to the Chairperson of the UNBS Board on June 27, 2023.

Charles Musekuura, the Board Chairperson, was asked to explain why he didn’t exercise his authority to suspend Ebiru, to which he responded that Ebiru had rejected the suspension.

Minister Mwebesa expressed his surprise at finding Ebiru still in office despite his suspension order. Mwebesa was reminded by Hon. Yusuf Nsibambi, the MP for Mawokota South, about the powers vested in the minister by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards Act to appoint the Executive Director and, therefore, to carry out the suspension.

In response, Minister Mwebesa stated that he would promptly write a letter to suspend the Executive Director. He said, “I am going back to write a letter telling him that I thought you had gone on leave following the earlier suspension and yet you are here and have not gone on leave. I will tell him to go on leave.”

Hon. Ssenyonyi directed the minister to copy the letter to the committee so that it could be included in their report.

Source: Parliament of Uganda

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