President Yoweri Museveni has directed Police and the State House Anti-Corruption Unit to arrest two top officials at the Rural Electrification Agency (REA).
The two include Godfrey Werikhe, the Agency Deputy Executive Director and John Turyagyenda the Manager Project Management and Development.
These recently had their contracts renewed by Energy Minister Hon Mary Gorret Kitutu but according to President Museveni, the officials have been involved in soliciting bribes from investors, and scheming their way into retaining their posts.
The president in a Tuesday April 12th expressed disappointment at the minister for renewing the contracts.
“I have learnt with regret that the Hon Minister of Energy and Mineral Development Hon Mary Gorret Kitutu has renewed the contract of the two said subjects, John Turyagyenda and Godfrey Werikhe,” he said.
Citing recent investigations by the IGG, ISO and the Police CID, Museveni said it was “a regrettable shame that the above mentioned subjects could be hired to serve in government ever again.”
Museveni noted that the two have been soliciting money from investors whose companies had been awarded contracts illegally, as a means to protect their contracts.
“I hence direct the Head of the Anticorruption Unit in State House to cooperate with the Director CID to arrest and apprehend these two subjects for trial in the Anti-Corruption Court immediately” Museveni ordered.
Mr Turyagyenda and Werikhe were last year suspended by the REA Board of Directors after an investigation by the IGG faulted them for negligence and insubordination among others.
The IGG had reportedly been looking into the duo in regard to power lines constructed by REA in various regions of the country.
Engineer Werikhe was faulted for authorizing change of supplier of the transformers for the construction of the Masindi-Waki Bulliisa powerline under unclear circumstances.
The engineer was also blamed for disregarding advice to rectify an anomaly of missing terms of reference to supervise a power line project in Ibanda up to the expiry of the defects liability period.
On the other hand, Engineer Turyagyenda was accused of laxity while performing his duties which led to the erection of poles that were not factory tested on the Ibanda-Kabujogera-Kamwenge powerline.
Mean while Museveni has extended Mr Godfrey Turyahikayo’s tenure as executive director of Rural Electrification Agency (REA) by another eighteen (18) months.
In the same vein, the President has appointed Eng Lutwama Charles William as the new Deputy Executive Director of REA.
The President made the directive to Energy minister Mary Gorette Kitutu in an April 11, 2021 letter.
“By virtue of the powers vested in the President of the Republic of Uganda by article 108A of the Constitution, I have with immediate effect, decided to appoint Mr Godfrey Turyahikayo as the new Executive Director of Rural Electrification Agency (REA) for a tenure of eighteen (18) months and Eng Lutwama Charles William as the new Deputy Executive Director of Rural Electrification Agency (REA) for a tenure of three years with effect from 1st May, 2021,” Mr Museveni wrote.
REA is a semi-autonomous body under the Ministry of Energy charged with operationalising government’s rural electrification programmes.
Since March 2020, the agency has been making news headlines alleging billions of shillings have been schemed off in dubious contracts. In March 2020, President Museveni ordered for an investigation into REA after receiving a report from intelligence agencies claiming that some senior managers there had pocketed $8m (Shs29b) in kickbacks off the ongoing sub-county electrification project funded by Chinese Exim Bank
Mr Turyahikayo, 71, who has been at the helm of REA for the last 18 years, had his contract running out in October 2015. Mr Turyahikayo was, however, given another four-year contract, following intense lobbying, which expired in 2019. The former REA board had declined to renew his contract over poor performance but President Museveni directed that he should be given another year in office to clean-up ‘a den of thieves’ against a background of intelligence dossiers alleging corruption and gross financial mismanagement.