Prof Mahmood Mamdani on the Spot Over Accountability Issues at MISR

Professor Mahmood Mamdani, the Director of the Makerere Institute for Social Research – MISR is on the spot over accountability issues barely a fortnight to the end of his tenure.

According to correspondences seen by URN, Prof Mamdani is faulted for failure to provide accountability for the years 2020 and 2021.

However, Prof. Mamdani counter accuses the management of failure to reign in on the Assistant Accountant of MISR, Edgar Ahereza for alleged refusal to return vouchers to MISR Accounts office and provide the missing accountability reports.   In a February 12, 2022 communication to the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Mamdani reports an alleged failure by the University Management to respond urgently to his report involving the MISR Assistant Accountant, Muhereza.

Prof Mamdani explains that when he wrote to the Management, the University Secretary, Yusuf Kiranda wrote back promising to handle the matter urgently as discussed but soon after asked him to be patient and wait until Monday, February 14 before taking action.

According to Prof. Mamdani, he does not know what prompted the sudden change yet he needed the matter resolved urgently to enable him to prepare his handover report come February 28, 2022, when his tenure ends.

“Before then (28th February), I intend to produce a comprehensive handover report, a confidential report that I will distribute to all key stakeholders, internal and external. Should this matter remain unresolved by then, I shall be duty-bound to inform any donor whose funding may be compromised by alleged fraud,” wrote Prof. Mamdani.

Kiranda penned a three-page response on February 14, 2022, to Prof. Mamdani’s letter, in which he noted that Prof. Mamdani brought to his attention the issue involving Ahereza and he committed to pursuing the case to ensure that Ahereza delivers vouchers asked for by the Professor. The interaction between the two happened on Feb 3, 2022, when Prof. Mamdani was heading for a meeting with the Vice-Chancellor.

However, Kiranda says that Prof. Mamdani did not take the matter to him (formally) until Feb 7 February 2022 when he wrote seeking that the issue be resolved on the same day, a move he found fishy. Some of the vouchers and cashbooks in Prof. Mamdani’s request date way back to 2021, which to Kiranda raised the question as to whether MISR was undertaking the necessary monthly reconciliations.

“It appears to me that your bringing of this matter to my attention and demanding that I resolve it on Short notice was only to enable you to find a way of shifting blame for your inefficiency. I find this approach to public management unacceptable,” penned Kiranda.

In the same letter, Kiranda notes the poor financial management and accountability practices at MISR. He notes that while on a trip in the US, Pro. Mamdani delegated the Principal of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences- CHUSS to sign payment on his behalf changing financial management procedures without informing the University Secretary, who is the accounting officer of the university.

The correspondences also show that MISR, under Prof. Mamdani’s leadership has also dragged providing financial records to Auditors. In 2019, Kiranda had to meet Prof Mamdani and the MISR finance team, and the auditors before MISR could submit financial documents for the 2018 Audit.

Furthermore, the Attorney General appointed Kit and Co. to Audit the accounts of MISR for 2020 but the audit has remained incomplete for almost a year due to the failure by MISR management to present the auditor with the necessary financial records, says Kiranda.

“For clarity, I hold you responsible for all financial and any other records at MISR according to the mandate and responsibilities for the Director of the Institute. Therefore, I find your letter to the Vice-Chancellor, which insinuates the current challenge to the University Management failure a frantic attempt by you to deflect failure on your part” he noted.

Following the exchange between Kiranda and Prof. Mamdani, management convened on Feb 14, 2022, and decided that the Auditor General audits MISR and asked Prof. Mamdani to hand over financial and other records for 2020 and 2021 to permit the audit.

Consequently, Prof. Mamdani wrote to Kiranda suggesting a specific auditor to conduct the process but Kiranda informed him that the Auditor General remains with the discretion to select an auditor of his choice. Kiranda noted that a potential conflict of interest might rise if an auditee chooses the auditor.

Kiranda says it still remains a priority to have Ahereza submit the vouchers and has guided the bursar on the process that must be taken should he fail to hand over the vouchers and accountabilities.