NWSC Official detained Over Shs100m Theft and Financial Irregularities

Handcuffed. PHOTO/FILE

Summary:

  • A National Water and Sewerage Corporation official, Mr. Norman Ijuka, has been reprimanded for causing a Shs100m financial loss through the theft of water project materials, as internal investigations reveal discrepancies in the allocation of resources and missing pipes.

An official responsible for the Arua area within the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) has faced censure for causing a financial loss totaling Shs100m, as disclosed by the Inspectorate of Government. Mr. Norman Ijuka, who had been evading authorities, was apprehended on January 3.

The Ombudsman’s office stated, “The Inspectorate of Government ordered the arrest of Mr. Norman Ijuka for abuse and theft of public property, resulting in a financial loss of Shs100m.”

Allegations against Mr. Ijuka involve the theft of water pipes designated for the Odupi water project in Omugo Sub-county, Terego District. Additionally, he is accused of pilfering iron bars, concrete blocks, and assorted paints valued at Shs30m from the construction site of an office block intended for the Arua Area NWSC office.

The offense of causing financial loss, under the Anti-Corruption Act, 2009, carries penalties of a fine not exceeding Shs7.2m, imprisonment not exceeding 14 years, or both.

Whistleblower reports from December initially brought attention to illicit activities within the corporation, describing a scheme using government property for personal gain. The perpetrators purportedly operate underground storage facilities where stolen items are kept and sold, some crossing the border into the DR Congo.

NWSC Managing Director, Mr. Silver Mugisha, revealed that internal investigations concluded that Mr. Ijuka was responsible for stealing pipes worth Shs76.5m. The NWSC intends to take appropriate action based on the investigative report.

An internal audit report from July to September 2023 also highlighted missing pipes for the Odupi Borehole priority. Auditors discovered discrepancies, with 706 pieces worth Shs83m unaccounted for out of the received 862 UPVC pipes valued at Shs102m. The area engineer and technical supervisor, implicated in signing completion certificates for incomplete work, along with the area manager, who requested funds for labor without due completion, bear responsibility for the financial loss, as per the report.

Mr. Mugisha emphasized the presence of internal mechanisms within NWSC to identify and address such issues, indicating that disciplinary actions aligning with their human resource manual would be taken.

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