President Museveni has warned Energy Minister Irene Muloni against the removal of Rural Electrification Agency (REA) Executive Director, Eng Turyahikayo, from office.
REA board chairman, Robert Kasande, in a May 30 letter informed Turyahikayo, that the board would not renew his contract due to failure in the implementation of some agency activities.
“…there were very disturbing trends in decline of implementation of activities of the agency for the last four years. In that regard at its sitting of May 27, 2019, the board declined to renew your contract,” the letter reads in part.
ChimpReports now understands that President Museveni has since overruled the board, saying no changes in management should be effected pending conclusion of a corruption investigation at REA.
“Reference to my telephone conversation, this is to direct you and the Board of Rural Electrification Agency that the statusquo of the management of REA should be maintained for one year so that I conclude the investigation in the massive corruption there,” said Museveni in a letter to Muloni dated July 8, 2019.
Impeccable sources say Kasande, Muloni, REA deputy ED Godfrey Werikhe and associates of former energy ministry permanent secretary Kabagambe Kaliisa colluded to remove Turyahikayo from office.
Turyahikayo was faulted for blowing the whistle on the corruption in REA especially in the procurement and installation of rotten poles, faulty circuit breakers and substandard transformers by Werikhe’s team.
Many transformers installed by REA in rural areas have since exploded and in some instances killing people.
Museveni told Muloni that, “I will now allow any changes there until my investigations are concluded.”
This implies the investigations could take longer than a year and that any attempts to change the management at REA needed the endorsement of President Museveni.
Turyahikayo and Werikhe, who also doubles as technical director, were in 2017 sent on forced leave by the board to pave way for investigations into abuse of resources at REA.
However, the main culprits in the mess were exonerated and their contracts renewed by Kasande’s board which at the same time asked Turyahikayo to leave.
Museveni said his “quick audit has already exposed massive thefts of government resources.”
Lt Col Edith Nakalema is said to have started investigating REA a couple of months ago.
Some of the preliminary findings include vast prime property estimated in millions of dollars accumulated by Werikhe and some top shots at REA.
REA was set up in 2003 to spearhead rural electrification, whose access currently stands at only 6 per cent.
The agency, governed by a seven-member board, is also currently in charge of implementing the free electricity connection policy.