Special Reports

Mbabazi Directs Police To Expedite OPM Probe

advice http://circleofliferediscovery.com/blog/wp-includes/formatting.php geneva; color: #222222; font-size: small;”>“We have urged police to expedite the cases they are handling most of which involve accountability of funds by officers from OPM who received money to implement activities in the various projects, http://dan-caragea.ro/wp-content/themes/mesocolumn/lib/functions/customizer-functions.php ” said Mbabazi late last week.


The Premier was speaking at the first PRDP II Monitoring Committee meeting at the government office complex building in Kampala.


Mbabazi’s statement comes against the backdrop of Special Duties Minister Tarsis Kabwegyere’s missive to Police, proposing that the “inquiries be discontinued if they cannot be expedited.”


“These investigations were intended to get down to the real matter of fraud which had been unearthed by the Auditor General. I have observed, though that the investigations have become general,” charged Prof. Kabwegyere.


“It has come to my attention that officers at the OPM are being invited to police headquarters … and sometimes made to sit from morning to evening. This kind of arrangement is constraining the performance of staff and is rendering work at the OPM difficult to be managed.”


The failure of Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Department (CIID) to bring to book the beneficiaries of the OPM fraud especially fuel dealers and food suppliers who supplied hot air to Northern Uganda, costing government billions of shillings, have since caused concerns.


Sources say Kabwegyere was concerned after it emerged that files of suspects were still held up at CIID boss Grace Akullo’s office, with slow or no action being taken.


Mr Moses Watasa, the commissioner for Information at the OPM, was recently quoted in the media as saying: “There are some disgruntled individuals, some lined up for court, who are circulating fake documents in futile attempts to divert investigations elsewhere. Possible consideration of such fake documents by CIID is possibly contributing to wastage of police’s time.”


Mbabazi also clarified that the Peace, Recovery and Development Programmes (PRDP) projects in Northern Uganda were not affected by the OPM theft.


“Despite what happened, PRDP projects financed by Uganda funds have been going on since these funds were not affected by the financial scam. Government has continued to disburse funds to districts and sectors to finance the planned activities although some programmes were affected by the general budget cuts across government,” he noted.


“I am aware that due to shortfalls in revenue collection development funds for quarter four were not released and in some instances were reduced and this affected the total releases of PRDP funds. However, PRDP implementation has continued with additional support from projects such as NUSAF 2, KALIP and ALREP,” added the Minister.


Mbabazi said that in line with the PRDP coordination and monitoring structure which was approved by this committee, the Ministries of Karamoja and Northern Uganda convened their respective policy committees where they discussed issues pertaining to their sub-regions and have come up with recommendations.


“Following implementation and operationalisation of Teso Ministry Affairs, the coordination of government programmes such as PRDP in Teso Sub-Region will be under the docket of this ministry,” said Mbabazi.


He said government has put in place mechanisms that will make it difficult for fraud to happen against such as the one which was orchestrated by sophisticated dishonest officials in the Ministry of Finance, Bank of Uganda and OPM.


We shall improve financial management systems across government. The Integrated Financial Management System has been reorganized to provide for transparency and accountability at every level of action and all bank of Uganda transactions have to be confirmed by the respective accounting officers.


Mbabazi proposed that the PMC meeting approved the Teso policy committee as an organ of PRDP implementation.


The Premier emphasized that government’s commitment to funding PRDP has remained steadfast and the local governments which receive the biggest share of PRDP funds have been receiving 93.8 billion shillings each financial year which is shared based on the formula which considers the conflict impact, the population and performance.


He said Cabinet has decided that in the financial year, 2013/14 part of PRDP funds be committed to wealth creation in the former internally displaced communities.


“Therefore shs20bn has been allocated for the restocking exercise in Acholi, Lango, Teso and West Nile sub-regions as a pilot. Although this will affect the disbursements to local governments it will not affect service delivery because restocking is for community empowerment and improvement of household incomes in the region,” added Mbabazi.


PRDP II

Meanwhile, during the PRDP II Monitoring conference, Uganda Local Government Association (ULGA) said PRDP and NUSAF II were “implemented successfully.”


“Phase one of PRDP has worked wonders and has helped the districts to solve some of the peculiar challenges that could not have been sorted out using the traditional grants,” the ULGA statement read in part.


“There has been great improvement of Districts and community access road across the region; construction of new classrooms and staff houses thereby improving access to education; construction of new health centres and houses; extension of electricity to areas that had since the beginning of the world only known darkness and contributed to restoring maintenance of law and order.


Through NUSAFF II, this enabled improvement in livelihoods of many households in the region. PRDP is the only safe road to facilitate organic transformation of the Greater North.”

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