KAZINDA SCAM: Mbabazi Says Gov’t To Seize Thieving Officials’ Properties

Amama_Mbabazi_John_patrick_540021031 geneva;”>“I can assure you that there may be asset seizures from those involved in this great crime, ” said Mbabazi during an online discussion with Ugandans on micro-blogging site, Twitter.

This will be the first time in decades that government is confiscating vast assets owned by thieving public servants and will likely cool tempers among enraged Ugandans.

There was a time when the Inspector General of Government Raphael Baku froze the interdicted Health Ministry Principal Accountant Nester Gachumbi’s accounts and slapped caveats on his properties over corruption allegations.

He later retained the properties after a court battle.

Kanzinda’s hotel like mansion in Bukoto

Three officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs flew to Kampala last Thursday after Ireland’s aid programme to Uganda was suspended following allegations about the misappropriation of funds, the Irish Times reported on Friday.

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.

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.

Kazinda being taken to Luzira

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”.

Several officials in the OPM including Principal Accountant Geoffrey Kazinda have been interdicted over the plunder.

Mbabazi said government would improve ways of detecting corruption and create a significant deterrent against public fund theft.

He further noted that he was already meeting donors to reassure them about the use of public funds, accountability structures and action taken against culprits.

Pius Bigirimana whose signinature was forged

He, however, noted that since the case is before the courts of law, the Prime Minister would not want to prejudice the process of adducing evidence against culprits.

He also ruled out resigning, saying “each time a bureaucrat steals a Prime Minister must resign, no Prime Minister would last two days.”

Mbabazi further said he was “deeply saddened” by the plunder of resources at OPM, adding, “Criminal justice must take its course.”

He also maintained the interdictions were ordered based on the Auditor General’s report which showed that Kazinda worked closely with officials in the Ministry of Finance and Bank of Uganda to steal over Shs20bn with forged signatures of Permanent Secretary Pius Bigirimana.


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