Finance Minister Matia Kasaija in under the spotlight after choosing what officials described as an “inexperienced person” to lead the National Lotteries and Gaming Board at a time the country is struggling to streamline betting business in Uganda.
Aloysius Mugasa was recently unveiled as the new Gaming board chairman, replacing the elderly Manzi Tumubweine.
Mugasa says in his CV that he worked with Uganda Kolping Society, an NGO run by the Catholic Church and is an “administrative specialist in business development, leadership and management consultancy.”
He is married to Grace Mary Mugasa, the former Mayor of Hoima Municipality.
However, the Lotteries and Gaming Act requires that the chairman of the institution’s board affairs needs experience in betting business.
Section 6 of the Act provides the composition of the board, saying it shall consist of “three persons, not being public officers, who are knowledgeable and experienced in matters relating to the administration of casinos, gaming, betting and private sector management…”
Gaming industry players told ChimpReports on Friday they were considering petitioning higher authorities or even court for remedy.
“Our worry is that Mugasa is not qualified for the job especially at this critical time when we are badly in need of able leadership,” said an official who preferred anonymity to speak freely.
But speaking to ChimpReports, Kasaija wondered how anyone can question his rationale on choosing the gaming board chairman.
“You mean I am a fool?” wondered Kasaija, who is well known for not mincing his words.
“I am I fool? Tell whoever is telling you that to go and report if they want. Don’t waste my time,” he charged on the phone.
The development comes just weeks after National Lotteries and Gaming Board Chief Executive Officer, Gerald Edgar Agaba was interdicted from by Kasaija.
In a letter to Agaba dated July 19, 2019, Kasaija said he was in receipt of a letter from police informing the Ministry that “you were charged with embezzlement and causing financial loss and as such appeared in the Anti-Corruption Court Kampala” on July, 4, 2019 vide court no CO-0090-2019.
According to prosecution, Agaba together with one John Patrick Kazoora the board’s Manager in Charge of Finance Administration stole 710 million shillings and also made fraudulent requisitions for another Shs 470 million and another Shs 360 million to the Finance Ministry in 2018.
Industry players say the board deserved a more experienced person to run the board affairs to address the challenges in the sector.