How Uganda Police ICT Director was pushed into resignation

How Uganda Police ICT Director was pushed into resignation
Former Uganda Police Force Director Information, Communication and Technology (ICT), Amos Ngabirano

On Tuesday this week, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Okoth Ochola appointed Felix Baryamwisaki, the Director Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) in Uganda Police Force. Baryamwisaki took over from Amos Ngabirano whose contract expired on March 20th, 2018.

Prior to the expiry of his contract, Ngabirano penned a resignation letter addressed to the Internal Affairs Minister, General Jeje Odong, who also chairs the Police Authority. In his resignation letter, Ngabirano, a civilian only hired to the top police management because of his expertise in ICT, reportedly told Gen. Odong he wasn’t interested in renewing his contract.

Ngabirano’s resignation came a few days after the media carried a story indicating that the president had ordered the then Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kale Kayihura to fire Ngabirano.

This publication can exclusively reveal that the 47- year- old ICT expert heed to pressure from senior police to resign. According to police sources, although Ngabirano was a close confident of the former IGP, he was passionately hated by his fellow Directors.

“When Kayihura was not around, he would not even attend the Police Policy and Advisory Committee where his fellow directors sat,” said the source.

A short, slim and quite man, Ngabirano was despised by his fellow Directors and senior officers because he was a “young guard” favored by his boss. The ‘old guard’ is formed mainly by old police officers who had served in the force for more than 25 years and grown through the ranks to become Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGP).

He was also despised because it had since been established that he lacked both the academic and experience to hold such a high position in the office. A number of audits both internally and from different organizations and institutions like the American embassy revealed that Ngabirano wasn’t qualified for the position he was holding.

The requirements for the position were a master’s degree in IT or a related field accompanied by more than 10 year’s working experience.

Ngabirano studied Information Technology at University of Oxford in the United Kingdom between 2002 and 2005. He worked for five years in two different companies in the UK. He worked as an IT Administrator at West Point Financial Services and later as a Software Engineer at Wolseley until 2010 when he resigned to join the Uganda Police Force.

At the time of his resignation, Ngabirano had applied for a master’s program at Coventry University in the UK.

In 2013, an internal audit by the Embassy of the United States of America on the Directorate of IT revealed that since its formation in 2008, the directorate had not move the force even an inch into the digital world.

This made senior officers question Ngabirano’s ability and skills to run the Directorate. Efforts by NGOs and other entities aimed at computerizing the force by the American Embassy didn’t yield results, which saw some of the computers donated to the force rotting away.

Some of these concerns were raised directly to Kayihura by police officers but he ignored the complaints and continued trusting Ngabirano with some of his classified operations instead of pushing him to do what brought him into the force.

When the confrontations in the Policy and Advisory Committee and the direct reports to Kayihura didn’t work to push Ngabirano out of the top police leadership, some of the officers resorted to witch hunt. In 2016, information circulated to the media that the president had ordered Kayihura to sack Ngabirano for allegedly defrauding Parliament Shillings 400million in a fake deal to procure a bomb detector.

This publication has learnt that it originated from one of the Directors in the police force and was accurate. While Ngabirano sat on the contracts and procurement committee of Police, he would only sit there when there were procurements in his Directorate.

At the time of procuring the bomb detector for the speaker of Parliament, the Parliamentary Police had been fully elevated to a Directorate with AIGP, Lemmy Twinomugisha at its helm.

He was mandated by the police standing orders to sit on the contract and procurement Committee for anything related to parliament. Kayihura neither confirmed nor denied the president’s directive to sack Ngabirano.

He laughed off the claims when asked by journalists at a press conference. Two years later, similar claims leaked to the media indicating that the president had ordered Kayihura to fire Ngabirano for messing up the procurement of CCTV cameras.

But the procurement of the Cameras has yet to begin. Police together with other stakeholders are still waiting for government to avail Shilling 230billion for the cameras. Our reporter was unable to establish how Ngabirano could mess up a process that is yet to start. Despite not being part of the scandals that were leaked to the media, Ngabirano had his dirty linen as far as procurements were concerned.

Sam Irumba, a city businessman who submitted bids for some IT related contracts in Police, told this publication that there was none of the procurement done with Ngabirano as a party that was not queried.

“That guy, he would only award you a contract if you could pay him. For some reason sometimes you would pay and still lose the contract because someone else had paid more than you,” Irumba said.