The Makerere University authorities have suspended Ms Margaret L. Etuusa, the deputy academic registrar over an award of a contract for handling phones during the just concluded 67th graduation.
Ms Etuusa, who is in charge of Certificates, Ceremonies and Production Division, was suspended on Tuesday by the acting Vice Chancellor, Prof Okello Ogwang, pending disciplinary action.
“Your written explanation was found not convincing. Accordingly, you are hereby suspended on half-pay with immediate effect and your matter is forwarded to the Appointments Board for Disciplinary action,” Prof Ogwang stated in the letter suspending Ms Etuusa.
“You are required to handover university property within your possession and under your care to the Academic Registrar, with a copy to the director Human Resource before you leave the university,” the letter added.
According to Prof Ogwang, preliminary investigations have shown that Ms Etuusa is the officer at the centre of the controversy of obtaining money from more than 44,000 graduands and guests and “attempting to paint the good image of Makerere University black.”
“It has been discovered that you irregularly handled a process of charging phone owners without approval from the university authorities,” the letter added.
The letter also indicated that Ms Etuusa overstepped her powers and abused her office by single-handedly procuring the phone handler.
Ms Etuusa signed a letter awarding a contract to Exxon Contractors Ltd to keep watch over mobile phones and other gadgets for graduands and guests during the ceremony at a fee of Shs3,000 per phone.
The letter further stated: “You flouted the PPDA provisions and vested yourself with the powers of the Contracts Committee with such a mandate, so your actions are susceptible to fraud, abuse of office and tantamount to gross misconduct contrary to the well-known and laid down procurement laws, policies and procedures.”
Ms Etuusa has also been banned from accessing her office during her suspension.
But in an earlier interview, Ms Etuusa told Daily Monitor that the issue had been used by some individuals within the university administration as a scapegoat to witch-hunt her. She said “the university organs should handle the issue in a manner they deem appropriate.”