nurse geneva;”>The Attorney General, Mr Peter Nyombi, has conceded that the leasing of management contracts for city markets between the defunct Kampala City Council (KCC) and businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba’s companies was null and void since they were not approved by the government legal adviser.
In response to a Constitutional Petition seeking to reverse government compensations to Mr Bassajjabalaba and his Haba Group of Companies, the AG described the petition as prolix, saying the transactions to the payment of the Shs142 billion contravened the law.
The AG says the transactions contravened the Constitution, the Public Finance and Accountability Act and that of Bank of Uganda, reports Daily Monitor.
“…They were aware of the illegality and they thus knew the recipients of public money which they should return,” reads part of the AG’s submission. According to the reply statement through State Attorney Gerald Batanda, the recipients are expected to return the money.
Legal Brains Trust, a Kampala-based legal and human rights firm, dragged government and 19 other parties to demand the refund of all public funds that were allegedly “stolen” from taxpayers by Mr Bassajjabalaba and his bankers.
In a March 2 letter, the AG said contracts for management of city markets between KCC and Mr Basajjabalaba’s Sheila Investments Ltd, Victoria International Trading Co. Ltd, Yudaya International Ltd and First Merchant International Trading Company Ltd are illegal.
Parliament has since adopted the House’s Public Accounts Committee report which recommended that the BoU governor, Mr Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, should be held responsible for the loss government incurred in Mr Basajjabalaba’s compensation.
The report also recommended that the two ministers Khiddu Makubuya abd Syda Bbumba, named in the scandal be relieved of their duties.
The ministers have since resigned.
Meanwhile, the businessman has dragged government to court seeking for declaration that the said compensation was legal. The matter is pending before the Commercial Division of the High Court.
Kayonza Stray Dogs Kill 12 Goats
Kayonza – Chaos erupted in Rugendabari village in Kayonza District after twelve goats were bitten to death by stray dogs yesterday, reports New Times.
Angry residents of the area, particularly those who lost their goats, called for immediate compensation and killing of the dogs.
Pandemonium ensued as dog and goat owners brought together by grass root leaders to seek a common solution took turns to express their views.
The two parties almost exchanged blows but were restrained by the leaders and local defence.
Viviane Kirungi, a middle aged woman who lost two goats to the dogs, said she desperately needed compensation.
She noted that villagers never had any idea on how dogs were supposed to be tamed.
“A dog is man’s best friend but when poorly tamed, it is his worst enemy,” Kirungi said.
“We are so wronged…careless people own dogs that loiter around. I need quick compensation. They (goats) are economically important to me. I get school fees for my children from goat rearing,” she said.
Jean d’Amour Habimana, a resident of the area, wondered how people were allowed to keep dogs in what he termed a ‘funny way’.
He said that owning dogs was not of economic importance to the community, adding that the dogs were only liabilities to the community and should thus be killed.
“The dogs causing chaos roam around the whole day killing goats because they have to feed…owners don’t feed them. So, we shouldn’t blame the dogs but whoever allows the situation to continue. The dogs should be killed forthwith,” Habimana said angrily.
Theogene Gahutu, the area leader, said that allowing dogs to menace communities had to stop.
The dog owners were ordered to kill them and also compensate the aggrieved parties.
“I challenged people to make a choice between owning dogs or goats. They chose goats…Our village must be free of dogs immediately. Dog owners must kill them on their own as they prepare compensation,” he said.
Over twelve dog owners were also immediately detained.
Rules To Tame Banks Get Mps’ Green Light
MPs have unanimously adopted a House committee report that sets the minimum fine for crimes in the banking industry at Sh20 million, up from Sh1 million.
The lawmakers also resolved to push for amendments to the law to open up the post of Central Bank governor and that of the deputy to competitive recruitment, according to Daily Nation.
They also unanimously resolved that the Auditor-General and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission carry out a forensic investigation on the books of 12 commercial banks that are accused of fanning the rapid depreciation of the shilling.
The audit, according to the House resolution, should focus on the “operations and transactions of the Discount Window and foreign exchange trading” which had “the largest foreign exchange holdings by September 2011”.
The banks, whose books the Auditor General and the CBK Bank Supervision department will look at are CFC Stanbic, KCB, Standard Chartered, Citibank, Barclays, Commercial Bank of Africa, I&M, Diamond Trust Bank, NIC Bank, Equity Bank, Cooperative Bank, and Bank of Africa.
The debate that led to the adoption of the report lacked the emotional venom that clouded the initial back and forth over the committee report.
This is because the MPs deleted a call for CBK governor Njuguna Ndung’u to resign and a consequent petition for the President to form a tribunal to investigate the governor’s efficiency at the height of the crisis.
An investigation into the CBK window may also rope in Prof Njuguna, who was at the helm of the bank, but whom MPs have sought to protect.
Parliament to probe MUK strikes
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga met the disgruntled Makerere students over the strike, reports New Vision.
Parliament has tasked the social services committee to investigate the causes of incessant strikes at Makerere University. The deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah directed the committee which oversees the sector to report in a weeks time after interfacing with stakeholders.
Students of Makerere on Monday petitioned the Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga listing several grievances that have orchestrated strikes including the on-going. Kadaga promised them immediate action.
On Wednesday, Kinkiizi East MP, Dr Chris Baryomunsi demanded to know from the minister of Education, Jessica Alupo, what is being done to address the students’ complaints.
They include; stoppage of faculty allowance, change of mode of payment of internship money, poor sanitation at campus, a sick university hospital and lecturers who lose students marks and hand them retakes.
“Why does the ministry wait for the situation to degenerate before it intervenes? Is she aware of the strike?” Baryomunsi stated.
Paul Mwiru (FDC) said that there was incompetence at Makerere and police response to the strike has been of “treating symptoms other than the disease by brutalizing students.”
Alupo said the technical people in the ministry were at Makerere to find out the problem and she would report back when a report is compiled for her. However, MPs Francis Apetite (FDC) and Alice Alaso (FDC) advised that the matter is better handled by the committee probing into the matter.
“Makerere is a boiling point. Today its allowances, tomorrow its meals and sanitation…” Alaso pointed out
Govt Sells 30 Cars For Only Sh60m
Members of Parliament on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) have raised a red flag over the manner in which government sold 30 cars in the Office of the Prime Minister at sh60.9 million, reveals New Vision.
This was one of a host of queries raised by MPs on Tuesday, about the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) in the Auditor General’s Report for the year ending 30th June, 2010.
The legislators were not convinced by the submission of the permanent secretary in the OPM, Pius Bigirimana, that his ministry had sanctioned an independent evaluation report of the boarded-off vehicles in order to attach a fair value on them before auction.
MPs Maxwell Akora, Kasiano Wadri, Eddie Kwizera, Emma Bona, Yaguma Wilberforce and Wamai Wamanga tasked Bigirimana to explain what kind of car could cost sh250,000, as evidenced by documents adduced before the committee.
The MPs directed Bigirimana to furnish them with the model of the auctioned cars, type, years of manufacture and their respective mechanical conditions.
MP Joseph Gonzaga Ssewungu noted that since the board-off survey committee from finance ministry had no representatives from OPM, many commodities auctioned by OPM in the financial year ending 30th June, 2010 could have been auctioned at a giveaway price.
According to documents before the committee, the vehicles were auctioned by Kamama General Auctioneers in April last year on the recommendation of a board-off survey report commissioned by Ministry of Finance.
Among the 30 auctioned vehicles, the most expensive one, an MTS Pajero UG 0156Z, went for sh5m while the cheapest, a Nissan Patrol UG 0032Z, went under the hammer for sh250,000.
The committee vice chairperson, Akora, later told journalists that the report of the board-off survey report by Mubarak Nasamba and Ernest Mwebesa “was casually done” and demanded to know who identified these vehicles for boarding off.
In a related development, the committee heard that OPM, until last year, had continued to lose unspecified amounts of money through an iniquitous rental arrangement with the owners of Posta building where it’s headquartered.
According to Bigirimana, the 12 ministries in the OPM rent seven floors of the eleven floors on the building, yet it continued paying water and electricity bills for the entire humongous building that houses numerous offices of private companies and individuals.
“I don’t know how long this kind of arrangement had been in place, but I found it in place when I came to office in late 2008,” Bigirimana said, when asked by irate MPs how long the arrangement had been in place.
Bigirimana said efforts to have different ministries get different meters for their utility bills came to naught, as both National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC)and UMEME, said they were constrained to separate the meters as requested.
The permanent secretary told lawmakers that management of Posta building, as of 30th June last year, assumed the responsibility of footing the utility bills for the entire building.
S. Sudan: We Are Not Obliged To Arrest Sudanese President Bashir
South Sudan said on Wednesday it is not obliged to arrest Sudanese president, Omer Hassan al-Bashir, who is scheduled to visit the country’s capital, Juba, as part of the framework agreement which the two sides signed in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa on Tuesday.
Speaking at a press briefing held at the Secretariat of the South Sudan’s ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), Pagan Amum, South Sudan’s chief negotiator said the agreement calls for the two parties to hold a summit in Juba to examine issues of mutual interest between the two states and to end dispute arising from misunderstandings since discussions begun.
Amum said he is aware Sudanese president Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) but his country will not arrest him “because we have problems to settle first” and that South Sudan does not hold an ICC membership.
Bashir was the first sitting head of state to receive an arrest warrant from the ICC. He is accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, committed in Darfur.
Since the issuance of the warrant in 2009, Bashir has continued to travel including to countries which have signed the Rome Statute, upon which the ICC is based, relatively unimpeded.
However, in June 2011 fears over arrest allegedly resulted in a delayed trip to China. Also in December 2011 Malawi came under international scrutiny for hosting Bashir.
Amum was asked at the briefing if, as a member of the UN, South Sudan is obliged to execute the warrant against Bashir.
He noted the successes of the current talks in which agreements on nationality and border demarcation have been achieved. The remaining issues will be discussed by Bashir and the South Sudanese president, Salva Kiir, in Juba.
“The signing of these two agreements shows that the two sides have realised their mutual benefits and interests to commit themselves to reaching a peaceful settlement on issues of contention. The agreements actually marks a new beginning with the spirit of readiness to discuss these issues without the old thinking that looks at issues as members of one country,” Amum told journalists.
The chief negotiator on behalf of South Sudan said the nationality agreement allows citizens living on both sides the right to live and own properties as well as other basic rights, including freedom of movement and establishing and carrying out business activities in accordance with the law of each state without fear of confiscation.
The other agreement on border demarcation allows the two sides to form joint border committee and joint technical team whose work shall commence within 60 days after the signing of the agreement.
Since investigation started, the ICC has also issued warrants for the current governor of South Kordofan, Ahmed Haroun, and Sudan’s defence minister, Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein.