EDITORIAL: The Executive Director of Public Procurement and Disposal of assets Authority (PPDA), Canon Benson Turamye, has resorted to threatening journalists and Whistleblowers behind the exposure of the Shs17Bn corruption scandal that involves the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC).
The media has since last month been awash with news on how Turamye reportedly blocked an investigation into how NWSC officials flouted PPDA regulations when purchasing prepaid water meters at a whooping Shs17Bn.
The office of the IGG would later institute an investigation into the matter following a report that was submitted by Whistleblowers, who alerted anti-corruption crusader Kamya about the rot at the PPDA’s office, which had resulted in the government losing billions of taxpayers’ money that was supposed to be saved by Turamye and his staff.
However, instead of assisting of the IGG’s office in the investigation, Turamye, as if fearing something, has since embarked on a mission to frustrate the same.
He (Turamye) even reached the extent of referring to the IGG Kamya in the media as an inexperienced person and dared her to pin him on any wrongdoing.
Now as if frustrating the IGG’s office from conducting the investigation is not enough, Turamye has since started using security agencies in the country to intimidate journalists and Whistleblowers who exposed his dirty dealings in the contentious NWSC deal.
Turamye is now being accused of using security operatives to intimidate whoever is involved in the investigation by threatening them with arrest or disappearance if they don’t back off the matter.
We have established that some journalists working with websites that have been exposing the scandal have been threatened with arrests and defamation suits.
The same Turamye is also using security operatives to intimidate the Whistleblowers who compiled the report that the IGG’s office is basing on to investigate the role PPDA officials played in the scandalous purchase, to establish whether or not they were accomplices in the corruption, yet they were supposed to play a watchdog role.
Instead of paving way for the investigation, Turamye claims to be shocked by Kamya’s interest in a matter that ended over five years back, as if he is scared that some skeletons in his closet might be exposed.
Through proxies sympathetic to him, Turamye, who seems to be very scared about the investigation, blamed this on what he has called ‘Kamya’s failure to discern underlying political and business interests in whistleblowers’ reports, unlike previous IGGs, yet all he has to do is to cooperate with the investigators.
“It is this inexperience that is being exploited by several disgruntled contractors and mafia groups with deep political connections fighting for fatty government contracts,” Turamye is quoted to have said by media after Kamya instituted the investigation.
He has since prophesized that Kamya’s investigation of his work will likely have a similar ending like that of Uganda Bureau of Standards (UBOS), where she interdicted UBOS bosses basing on a Whistleblower’s claims of corruption, only for the President to reinstate them after learning that Kamya had been misled.
To emphasize his innocence, the PPDA last week issued a press statement in which they denied allegations of Turamye blocking the investigation.
“The PPDA did not block the investigations into the procurement of the prepaid water metres by the NWSC. On the contrary, the PPDA duly undertook an investigation and on 30th July 2020 issued a report citing the irregularities in the procurement process and made appropriate recommendations,” they said in the press statement, adding;
“The report of this investigation is a public document available on our website www.ppda.go.ug and the recommendations in our report were implemented by NWSC.”
However, Kamya reassured the public a few days ago that she is bent on unearthing all the rot that was involved in the corruption scandal, who was behind it and why Turamye’s PPDA didn’t hold the culprits accountable.
“I want to assure Ugandans that the IG will reopen the Shs17 billion NWSC procurement of prepaid meters without fear or favour, ” Kamya told the media.
The investigations into the fake prepaid meters is said to have been blocked by Turamye in return for a fatty position for his wife at NWSC.
But all that whistleblowers, who include loyal National Resistance Movement (NRM) cadres at NWSC, want is the IGG to probe Turamye and his counterpart at NWSC over allegations that the two were involved in blocking an investigation into the dubious procurement deal where NWSC procured water prepaid meters with functionality issues at a cost of Shs17Bn.