COSASE probes recruitment irregularities at URA
The Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) is set to meet the board of the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to address concerns on discrepancies in recruitment and promotions.
The committee will also interface with the finance minister who supervises the authority over the same.
The matter came to light during an interaction between URA officials and the committee which is investigating the irregularities highlighted in the Auditor General's Report for 2021/2022.
In a meeting held on Friday, 14 July 2023, members of COSASE raised concerns of corruption, irregular recruitments, promotions and cases of nepotism within the authority.
The committee had previously requested URA under the leadership of Commissioner General John Musinguzi to provide a comprehensive list of the over 3,000 staff members employed by the authority. It was during the review of this list that MPs raised their queries.
The chairperson of the committee, Hon. Joel Ssenyonyi, said that out of the eight highest ranking officials, six were found to hail from the same single region, which directly contradicts the principles of equal opportunity.
While acknowledging that the officers may be well educated and highly trained, Ssenyonyi stressed the importance of regional balance and diversity within the management structure.
He stated that it was unjustifiable to have a concentration of personnel from one particular region or sub-region.
“It’s a concern that members are raising; we must make sure we keep the country together. Things like these become problematic and this one is not even a partisan issue, it is not a representation of Uganda,” he said.
Musinguzi, in response to the committee's concerns, urged the members to delve deeper into the issues at hand.
He suggested that some of the raised concerns could be attributed to staff who were resistant to the changes and restructuring implemented within the organisation.
“Let us interrogate these issues deeply and we will understand either the historical perspective or the importance of how we end up here. Just going by the names and where they come from does not paint a national character, but there are reasons to this, they can be explained,” he added.
The meeting also shed light on additional grievances raised by other committee members.
Nwoya District Woman Representative, Hon. Judith Achan, highlighted the frustrations faced by several employees at URA due to favoritism, nepotism and an unfair structure of promotions and recruitment.
Kyadondo County East MP, Hon. Muwada Nkunyinji, observed that there seemed to be a lack of representation of Muslims in the top management of URA.
Hon. Mpindi Bumali, the representative for Persons with Disabilities (PWD), criticised URA for failing to ensure equal opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
Mawokota County South MP, Hon. Yusuf Nsibambi, proposed that COSASE summons the URA board and the minister in charge to resolve the issues surrounding recruitments and promotions at the authority.