The Inspector General of Government (IGG) Beti Namisango Kamya has recommended the sacking of Old Kampala Senior Secondary School headteacher, William Ssuuna and the recovery of Shs 107 million.
The 100-page IGG's report exposes systemic issues within the once-prestigious institution, shedding light on various cases of malpractice, maladministration, abuse of office, and mismanagement of funds attributed to Ssuuna's leadership.
“The permanent secretary ministry of Education and Sports...should transfer or demote Mr Ssuuna William headteacher Old Kampala SSS...," the November 2023 report from IGG reads, in part, before detailing six misdemeanors the headteacher committed.
One major factor is the irregular spending of public resources without an approved budget. The IGG investigators discovered that, up until August, the school operated without a budget for the 2023 academic year. Furthermore, the report reveals that the headteacher made irregular payments totaling Shs 73.22 million.
Additionally, he made withholding tax deductions amounting to over Shs 6.3 million from contractors but failed to remit the funds to Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), as mandated by the law.
“Withholding tax deductions from payments made to Mudde Duada Lubulwa an Nansamba Sharifah a total of UGX 6.325,560 were not remitted to URA until the inspector of government commended investigations,” the report adds.
Another noteworthy aspect contributing to the decision is the headteacher's lack of transparency regarding the matter of a bus company renting the school property on Plot 19 along Namirembe road. The investigation uncovered that Societe Provincial De Transport (SPT) sought to rent the school premises and deposited Shs 30 million using a school fee deposit slip without indicating the purpose before the school even responded to their letter or provided a formal contract agreement.
“Mr Ssuuna William, headteacher was not transparent in this transaction of an attempt to rent out Namirembe road, a company called SPT company. He did not officially respond to the request by SPT or communicate the board of governor’s decision rejecting the transaction between the company and the school,” the report indicated.
The headteacher's unauthorized hiring of contract teachers, without board approval, and poor relations with staff and board members are also key factors in the decision. Old Kampala SSS has faced troubled times for a decade. Once, the ministry, closed the school due to unending student strikes linked to internal issues.
Ssuuna's arrival however only intensified the problems. James Mubiru, a KCCA councilor and alumnus, prompted an IGG investigation into board irregularities. The school board in reply also lodged complaints with the ministry of Education and IGG, accusing the headteacher of maladministration, abuse of power, and financial misuse.
The school board, which has the backing of a section of former students and staff members also invoked Suuna’s past work history to substantiate their claims against the head teacher. They argue that Suuna has a history of leaving conflicts and mismanagement in his wake and cite his previous record at Luwero Secondary School and Kalinabiri Secondary School.
In their petition, the board couldn’t resist pointing out how the headteacher was ejected from Luweero Secondary School in 2022 by former students who accused him of maladministration, declining performance, examination malpractice, lack of transparency, disrespect of stakeholders, and bribery.
They further point out the fact that Suuna has been posted in three schools within the last three years. In the end, the Inspector General of Government (IGG) combined both complaints and initiated a comprehensive investigation into all the issues raised. However, during the early stages of the investigation, the ministry attempted to transfer Suuna to Kijjabwemi Secondary School in Masaka city, a move that was strongly opposed by the IGG.
Despite Mubiru's accusations against the board, the investigation by the IGG revealed no irregularities in the procurement and payment processes for the perimeter fence works, as alleged.
However, the IGG has recommended that the school board establish a designated school account for the efficient management and easy traceability of capital development projects. Concerns were also raised about the procedures for renting out school premises, including classrooms and football pitches. The IGG recommended that a clear and publicly available set of regulations be established for the hiring or renting of these premises.
“This should include; among other things, that fees should be paid to the school designated bank accounts and who authorizes such payments. There should be checks and balances to avoid conflict of interest and possible compromises,” says the report.
The investigations also uncovered that the school management had a tendency to engage non-prequalified suppliers, deviating from the institution's established procurement and disposal guidelines.
It was found that during the period spanning 2022 and 2023, both the former headteacher, James Muloni, and the current headteacher, Ssuuna, irregularly authorized the disbursement of over Shs 224.5 million to the school's procurement officer, Luwano Meddy, for the purchase of school items. However, the investigation revealed that items worth over Shs 107.6 million could not be accounted for.
“Therefore a total of UGX 107,632,900 advanced to you to purchase the said items was mismanaged and thus causing finance loss to the government... the purpose of this letter is to direct you to refund...within six months. Failure to do so will lead to prosecution,” the IGG noted in a separate letter to Luwano.
Following the release of the report, our reporter discovered that there was a sense of jubilation among teachers and members of the board. They expressed enthusiasm, stating that they are eagerly anticipating the ministry to implement the recommendations made by the IGG. One of them conveyed to our reporter; "we are all now awaiting the ministry to effect the recommendation of the IGG."
Our reporter was unable to reach Ssuuna for a comment at the time of publishing this story as calls to his known mobile phone number went unanswered. Additionally, attempts to visit the school twice proved unsuccessful, as the institution is presently secured against "uninvited guests."
All visitors now including parents, are required to provide an explanation for their visit to the school. Parents must verify the identity of their child with the gatekeepers before gaining clearance. The gatekeepers stressed, "If you are not staff, a parent, or a student, you need to schedule an appointment."
However, despite this policy, our reporter was not permitted to proceed to the offices and was instead directed to contact the headteacher for the appointment. Prior to the release of the IGG's report, the school faced another scandal when the headteacher was arrested on allegations of malpractice by the Uganda Nationals Examinations Board (Uneb).
He was accused of being in possession of a Uneb paper a day before its official sitting. This incident has also sparked unrest within the school and among former students who assert that such an occurrence had never taken place in the history of the school.
About the school
Established in 1932, Old Kampala SS was founded by Asian teachers K.D Gupta and B.D Gupta, originally from Bengal, India, a historic center of learning. The school's inception was aligned with the needs of the local community, and K.D Gupta served as its inaugural headmaster.
Over the years, this institution, steeped in a rich history and cultural heritage, has evolved into one of the foremost centers of learning in East Africa. It has distinguished itself not only in academic pursuits but also in various disciplines such as Fine Arts and sports.
Throughout its history, the school has played a pivotal role in nurturing notable individuals, including prominent figures such as Rwanda's President Paul Kagame, Uganda's former vice president Gilbert Bukenya, pastor Robert Kayanja, Gen (Rtd) David Tinyefuza (now Sejusa), NRM vice president Moses Kigongo, and businessman Sudhir Ruparelia among others.