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OPM PROBE: MPs Split On Mbabazi Fate

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viagra approved http://cenariospizza.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-store-locator/frontend/class-frontend.php geneva;”>While majority of the MPs (17 out of 28) exonerate Mbabazi from any wrongdoing, here http://demamore.com/wp-content/plugins/bbpress/templates/default/bbpress/form-user-edit.php a minority report authored by MP Joseph Ssewungu, dated June 4, faults the committee for “failing to find Amama culpable in the financial scandal that took place in OPM.”


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“It is for this matter that I present my case to this August House, with specific prayers that this House apportions due responsibility to the Prime Minister for his role in the financial impropriety.”


Ssewungu says his assessment of the evidence before the Committee gives clear indication that Mbabazi “had a hand in the use of PRDP money to purchase vehicles for Ministers at OPM, interference in the transfer of Principal Accountant Mr Godfrey Kazinda and failure in political supervision.”


During their investigations, the Committee interfaced with Mbabazi. Of interest to the MPs was to get an explanation on the political supervision, the role the Premier played in procuring vehicles for ministers and stopping Kazinda’s transfer.


The Premier opined that the nature of financial mismanagement that took place in the OPM was a case of criminality that needed to be handled as such and regretted that it took a while to be noticed.


“What happened to in OPM pointed to weaknesses in the financial systems within government. For that reason, a consultant had been engaged to review the financial management systems and to look at general performance in government entities,” said Mbabazi while appearing before PAC early this year.


Mbabazi said his understanding of PRDP was that up to 99 percent of the funds would be transferred to Local Government to implement programmes and activities within agreed work plans submitted by districts and approved in annual estimates. He maintained that no information to the contrary had been brought to his attention, until the time he requested for the special audit report.


The Premier agreed that he had a meeting with the Accountant General Gustavio Bwoch and Permanent Secretary Pius Bigirimana in which he directed that Kazinda’s (now interdicted) transfer be stayed to allow him prepare annual books of accounts and respond to audit queries and hand over thereafter.


Mbabazi further noted that the only complaint that was brought to his attention was that he used to mix funds of different programmes.


On procurement of vehicles, Mbabazi stated that he did not participate in the process, and that this was purely the mandate of the Accounting officer and not the political head.


He further noted that it did not occur to him that funding for vehicles was from PRDP.


Bigirimana told Chimpreports on Monday he took blame for spending PRDP funds on ministers’ cars but quickly added he was “mandated to facilitate them to carry out government business.”


He said it was the “right and best thing to do considering the circumstances at the time.”


Ssewungu spitting fire

But MP Ssewungu says even if Mbabazi did not know for certain that PRDP funds had been used, at least he was aware that funds for vehicles had not been provided for in the budget for the financial year under review and should therefore have taken interest in knowing where the funds were coming from.


The lawmaker further contends that by refusing the transfer of Kazinda, the interdicted Principal Accountant’s continued stay served to give him clout that he had political backing of the Premier.


“Kazinda’s being in office fuelled the mismanagement of funds in the OPM. As evidence through the Auditor General’s report and the Committee inquiry, a lot of funds were lost during his continued stay,” argued Ssewungu in his minority report.


“The Prime Minister should be held responsible for overstepping his powers by exerting political pressure on the Accountant General, an act that led to colossal sums of money under OPM.”


Ssewungu also said that “Mbabazi having failed to play his constitutional role in respect of coordination and implementing the PRDP interventions, be found unfit to hold the office of Prime Minister and the President be requested to relieve him of his duties.”


PRDP was a government policy framework where funds earmarked under it were to be used to fund approved work plans from implementing districts.


The diversion of donor funds from the PRDP account by officials at the Finance Ministry in connivance with elements at Bank of Uganda and OPM led to loss of over shs50bn.


Western countries responded by suspending aid to Uganda until tight controls were put in place to stop graft.


Parliament will soon discuss the report with the view of adopting it to enable other government bodies take action basing on PAC’s recommendations.

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