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Trade Minister sacks suspended UNBS Boss David Ebiru

Suspended UNBS ED, David Livingstone Ebiru has been sacked from the Bureau with imemdiate effect

KAMPALA (UG): The Embattled Executive Director of Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), Mr David Lingstone Ebiru has been officially dismissed from the Bureau, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Hon Francis Mwebesa has confirmed.

Mr Ebiru who was first appointed to head the Bureau in acting capacity in 2020 and later confirmed in full capacity in 2021 was sacked on August 4, 2023, two weeks after he was suspended from office over the bribery and corruption allegations.

Hon Mwebesa said that following a review of the report from the National Standards Council which governs the Bureau, his office concurred with their recommendations to dismiss Ebiru in accordance with Section 11(2), (5) (b) and (c) of the UNBS Amendment Act 2013.

Ebiru’s woes started when he appeared before Parliament’s Committee on Public Accounts – Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) on July 19, 2023, and admitted paying a shs100 million bribe to the board members of UNBS in a desperate attempt to prevent the termination of his contract.

“I was asked by the board chairperson (Charles Musekura) that I must do the needful to cool down what is going on. I was shown a letter from the minister (Mwebesa) to him to dismiss me arising from that letter from the IGG. I borrowed the money and I handed it to Mr Omara one of the representatives of the chairman. He picked the money from my office in a bag,” Ebiru told COSASE officials last month.

The probe found Ebiru guilty of misconduct, mismanagement and misappropriation of funds.
According to COSASE, Ebiru also misappropriated Shs11.5 billion. The funds were meant to have been remitted to the Consolidated Fund. He is also accused of spending Shs 285 million.

The report implicated Ebiru in misappropriating Shs 12.9 billion and shielding five staff from reprimand after they caused a financial loss worth Shs 9.3 billion. The five staff are accused of allegedly backdating inspection reports and editing application dates on the UNBS applications e-portal.

Mwebesa stated that the National Standards Council in a Special Meeting held on 1 August 2023, reviewed and analysed the evidence concerning the allegations of misconduct, mismanagement and misappropriation of funds and realized Ebiru is a serial corruptionist who can’t be trusted anymore with any government office.

”The Council also noted your allegation of bribery levelled against them, while before the Public Accounts Committee (COSASE), and your subsequent withdrawal of the same allegation. They observed that this has adversely eroded your moral standing to hold such an important responsibility of the office of Executive Director,” reads Mwebesa’s letter.

Minister Mwebesa’s letter also pins Ebiru on the following;

  1. You admitted to having withdrawn and spent PVOC collections funds (Non-Tax Revenue) totalling to approximately USD3.2M (approx. 11.5Bn) at source which was meant to have been remitted to the Consolidated Fund contrary to the Public Finance Management Act 2015;
  2. Admmited that you pent the amount totalling UGX 285M at Source, funds deposited by traders and businesses as security contrary to the advice and guidance of the Accountant General and the Republic of Uganda Treasury Instructions 2017;
    Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU).
  3. Admitted to having made several cash withdrawals without authorisation of Council and the Treasury (PS/ST) contrary to the UNBS Finance and Administration Manual (5.0 [a]) and (5.6) and Treasury Instructions 2017; (especially paragraph 10.10.4);
  4. Admitted to having failed to discipline 5 staff members who caused financial loss to the Bureau totalling UGX 9.282Bn, after having backdated inspection dates on Inspection Reports and edited application dates on the E-portal Applications; and
  5. Denied having been investigated and found culpable by the IGG for the misappropriation of funds meant for the Fuel Marking Project jointly despite there being evidence of a plea bargain by him and others to refund the said misappropriated funds.

”In view of the above, and on account of your own admission to having breached the law and laid down procedures and in accordance with Section 11 (2), (5) [b] and [c] of the UNBS Amendment Act 2013, Council unanimously recommended that I cause your dismissal as Executive Director of UNBS,” reads Mwebesa’s letter firing Ebiru.

”I concur with the recommendation of the National Standards Council. Your admission of bribery under oath and attempting to withdraw such an allegation has caused grave injury to the reputation of the Chairman and Members of the Council. The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to inform you that I hereby dismiss you from the position of Executive Director of UNBS with immediate effect; in accordance with Section 11(2), (5) (b) and (c) of the UNBS Amendment Act 2013,” Mwebesa stated.

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