Irish Government Suspends Aid To Uganda Over Kazinda

page geneva;”>It is alleged that up to €4 million in aid from Ireland was transferred to an unauthorised account of the office of Prime Minister Patrick Amama Mbabazi.

malady geneva;”>Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore has suspended a total of €16 million in Irish assistance due to be channelled through the government of Uganda and announced an immediate investigation into the alleged misappropriation of funds.

for sale geneva;”>Chairman of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade Pat Breen has expressed “deep concern” at the allegations, adding that misappropriation of aid funding “cannot be tolerated”.

The alleged fraud is reported to involve €12 million in aid last year from four countries: Ireland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

The aid budget from Ireland for Uganda this year was due to be €32 million, including €17 million which would have gone through government channels.

However, a spokeswoman for Irish Aid, the development wing of the Department of Foreign Affair and Trade, said it was “earmarked for particular programmes”.

“Only €1 million has been disbursed to date and that didn’t go through the office of the prime minister,” she added. The remaining €16 million has been put on hold but the payment of another €15 million to NGOs in the country will continue.

The Auditor General report recently exposed connivance between Bank of Uganda staff and officials in the OPM to swindle government funds to the tune of billions.

Auditor General John Muwanga last month launched an investigation into the financial operations of the OPM at the request of Pius Bigirimana, the Permanent Secretary, following the suspected theft of at least Shs20bn by interdicted Principal Accountant Geoffrey Kazinda.

Kazinda is currently in court for abuse of office and causing financial loss to government.

He reportedly forged OPM permanent Secretary, Pius Bigirimana’s signature to withdraw money from Northern Uganda.

It emerged during the investigation that Bigirimana had started warning Kazinda as early as 2010 against financial impropriety.

Shs14.8bn meant for support to PRDP and received on the basket budget support account on July 127 2011 was fraudulently transferred on December 1 2011 to an account in Karamoja under the OPM in Bank of Uganda by way of electronic transfer.

The Auditor General noted that international control weaknesses existed on the part of treasury that could have led to lapses in the processing systems.

Kazinda’s Mansion

Whereas the Central bank guidelines requires that all cash payments above Shs15m and non-cash payments in excess of Shs20m are confirmed by calling at least one of the signatures, it was noticed in the period under review of non-cash payment totaling Shs10.9bn were not confirmed with any of the signatory.

Where confirmation was done, it was also noted that whereas the guidelines required confirmation from one of the signatories, most of the confirmations were made with Kazinda yet the accounting officer is the principal signatory.

Payment guidelines require officers in the Central bank should carry out a verification of signatures’ mandate against specimen signatures in the bank.


A review of the sample cash payments above Shs15m and non-cash payments above Shs20m from all OPM accounts over a period of two financial years 2010/11 showed payment instruments totaling Shs13.4bn appeared to have signatures of Bigirimana and under secretary differing from the specimen signatures in BoU, a fact confirmed by signature experts at CID.

A comparison of the signature verification control and the payment confirmation control revealed that all instruments with differing signatures were confirmed by the Kazinda and honored by the bank.

“It should be noted that Kazinda is a custodian of security papers and in all instances his appeared authentic. The involvement of the PA in forged signatures in the circumstances cannot be ignored,” the Auditor General observes.

Meanwhile, it is was noted that after forging documents Kazinda on December 1 2011 and January 30 2012 irregularly credited three accounts with Shs20.1bn from Support to PRDP.

They are 183011PTO11211 (Shs14.8bn), 183111PT30112 (Shs3.5bn) and STP400033300112 (Shs1.7bn). The money ended up in the wrong hands.

Meanwhile, the newspaper further reported that Ireland has had an aid programme in Uganda since 1994 and funding last year amounted to €32.75 million.

Pius Bigirimana’s signiture was forged

The overall Government aid programme to all developing countries is €639 million this year, compared with €920 million in 2008.

A statement from Iveagh House said his draft report, which had just been made available to donors in Kampala, found there had been significant financial mismanagement in relation to the development programme for war-torn northern Uganda.

“The programme was established to rebuild the region after decades of conflict and devastation. It has been supported by Ireland and a number of other donors, including Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

“The auditor general has found that funding received from Ireland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark last year was transferred to unauthorised accounts.

“His draft report states that up to €4 million in Irish Aid funding provided in 2011 was transferred to an unauthorised account of the office of the prime minister.”


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