(This discursive also has a solution to this chronic and endemic corruption in this University) For the past many days, the residents of Nsibirwa Hall have not watched any Champions league match. Being a Real Madrid fan, I was furious at not watching the match. When I asked the secretary to the Ag. Warden and the speaker of the hall, they all claimed that the delayed subscription of DSTV was due to the delayed cashing of the cheque that was still making its rounds in the arctic of the rooms at the Universities Administration block. And these delayed requisitions are not only restricted to Nsibirwa hall. Not even to halls for that matter but to the general Modus operandi of this university.
The major predicament is that when these delayed requisitions accumulate in bulk, it makes swindling of money easier. Double requisitions could easily be merged and post-dated. The unanimity of this situation is a metaphor for a much larger problem which is systemic failure. Sections 63 and 64 of the Universities and other tertiary institutions act speak of auditing of this university every financial year but the system of the cheque system of withdrawal are a hindrance to this because hitherto they have always “cooked the books” as Charles Dickens calls forgery of accountability in his book “Hard times.
“The advantage to the administration is that this internal auditing is never subject to external auditors before the audit report is sent to Parliament. I could call this a lacunae in section 64 (5) of the Universities and other tertiary institutions act. HOWEVER, HERE IS A SOLUTION. The University should shift from the cheque system of requisition to a system called “INTEGRATED INFORMATION SYSTEM.” I remember compiling a detailed report of this mode of financial requisitioning and giving it to one of the high ranking ministers of Bala David but to my dismay, the Minister got Back to me and told me the President was never available to listen to his ministers.
But this is how this Integrated information system works. Here, you make a requisition/internal memo, through the vote controller which is approved by the accounting officer, when approved, system approved papers are prepared and the funds are transferred directly to the payee’s personal account from bank of Uganda. SINCE MOST OF MAKERERE FUNDS HAVE LINKS TO THE CONSOLIDATED FUND of Uganda, this could work.
In Uganda public service today, especially in central government, cheques are no longer used. Makerere University being a statutory corporation makes it no exception. But the question is why is Makerere reluctant to adapt such a system? I always wonder.
Even when most South African national Universities no longer use the cheque system. My simple economics I learnt from Ntare School taught me that a cheque is issued by the payee to the drawer. But for crying out loud, in this complex web of Makerere University you can’t keep on issuing such cheques all the time.
They will keep on creating all these anomalies.
Here are some of the advantages of the integrated information system as compared to the cheque system:
Firstly, it saves time and funds can be easily traced if miss handled. This will quickly solve the mishandling of funds and the inordinate delays created by requisitioning.
Secondly, it also helps in apportioning blame in the event of abuse of funds, because it uses personal pass words. Many times funds in Makerere are lost and blame is really apportioned. It also eases fund transfer in bulk without risk even to the outside world timely. This will make sure Makerere’s grants from the outside world flow is much faster and their use is visible.
However, the Cheque system takes a number of days to be cleared but this system is immediate and instant as long as all cross checking is complete.
The best part is that the integrated information system is definitely high tech so it saves paper. It is called IF MS, which is integrated financial information system. I have been talking to a number of speakers of the respective halls to write a proposal to the University council to suggest this system.
This endeavour doesn’t need the students’ guild because overtime the students’ guild has slipped in significance and is easily comprisable.
So I think let’s try another method apart from the students’ guild The 3rd American president, Thomas Jefferson once said that – “if you are hoping for another result different from previous, ones get a different approach that has not been explored.” Since the administration and the University council has hitherto, made it a point to ask for 60% tuition all the time by 6th week we should also make it a point to ask for accountability and high level of due-diligence in the utilization of the tuition they make a point to ask for. MANY THANKS…
Louis Namwanja Kizito, 2nd Year Law Student, MAK.