NDA Bitekyerezo abuse of office
Former Employee sues National Drug Authority (NDA) board chairman, Dr Bitekyerezo. File Photo

Former Employee sues National Drug Authority (NDA) board chairman, Dr Bitekyerezo over abuse of office

National Drug Authority (NDA) board chairman, Dr Medard Bitekyerezo has been sued by an employee over allegations of serving past his actual term limit.

An employee identified by names Florence Nakachwa, alleges fact that Bitekyerezo and other members of the NDA board are serving in positions illegally because their term as board members expired last month. 

In so doing, Nakachwa also accuses the board chair misusing office including the channelling of government funds contrary to the laws and regulations of the authority.

Nakachwa implied that on notable occasions the board has used and channelled money to cater for many things even without proper justification.

Namakwa’s lawyers identified as Kituuma Magala and Company raised a complaint to court calling on NDA to reverse the decision and also declare Dr Bitekyerezo not fit to chair the Authority’s board.

Her (Nakachwa) troubles started immediately after the board agreed to restructure and make some reshuffles among members, this culminated in Nakachwa who earlier had been employed on a fixed contract of four years as Head of Drug Assessment losing her role because her position was abolished in the process.

However, Nakachwa implied in her complaint that she was sick and on leave at the time the management sat to restructure and reshuffle board members. She adds that she was only alerted about her dismissal upon return to the office.

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NDA Bitekyerezo abuse of office
Former Employee sues National Drug Authority (NDA) board chairman, Dr Bitekyerezo. File Photo

Besides, Nakachwa who indicated in a civil suit regards Dr Bitekyerezo as a deceitful and dishonest individual. A civil lawsuit is a court-based process through which Person A can seek to hold Person B liable for some type of harm or wrongful act.

Outgoing Board members spending

Earlier this month, the National Drug Authority (NDA) was reported to have spent hundreds of millions of shillings on facilitating 10 out of 19 members of its outgoing board to attend a six-day training in corporate governance in Pretoria, South Africa.

The group led by Dr Medard Bitekyerezo, the chairperson of the board, flew out of the country on January 19 and returned on January 26, the day their tenure of office came to an end.

Dr Bitekyerezo travelled to South Africa with Mr Nelson Musoba, the director-general of Uganda Aids Commission, Dr Grace Nambatya Kyeyune of the Natural Chemotherapeutic Research Laboratory, Mr Muhammed Mbabali of the Uganda Dental Association, Mr Morris Seru, the commissioner for Health Services (Pharmacy) at the Ministry of Health, Mr Kimbowa Yusufu Sembatya, a representative of the public and Mr Yahaya Hills Sekajja of Uganda Herbalists.

Others are Dr Hanifah Namala-Sengendo, the director of medical and psychosocial programmes, Baylor College of Medicine Children’s Foundation; Ms Grace Akullo, the director of the Criminal Investigations in the police force, and Ms Anne Rose Ademun Okurut, the commissioner of Veterinary Services at the Ministry of Agriculture.

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They were accompanied by two employees of the authority; Ms Dora Namyalo and Ms Dorothy Namuwonge.

Reports indicated then that $13,108 (about Shs48m) was spent on the purchase of air tickets, with board members flying business class while the two employees flew economy.

A copy of an appointment letter that the Health Minister Ruth Aceng also wrote to Dr Bitekyerezo dated January 27, 2017, indicated that each board member was entitled to a per diem of $520 per day (about Shs1.9m) when they travel outside Uganda.

This means that the 10 bagged $46,800 (about Shs172m).

Meanwhile, the employees of NDA were also entitled to a foreign per diem of $360 per night (Shs1.3m), meaning that the two travelling members bagged per diem amounting to $6,480 (Shs23.8 million) over the nine days.

By John Dalton Kigozi