Special Reports

OPM Inside Story: Why Museveni, Mbabazi Are Defending Bigirimana

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hospital http://dejanmilutinovic.com/wp-includes/template-loader.php geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%; text-align: justify;”>Some of the suspended officials from the OPM include Martin Owor, viagra buy principal accountant Geoffrey Kazinda, page Arthur Mumanyire, M. Byekwaso and Isaiah Oonyu.

Others are Beatrice Kezaabu, K. Lubega, Yahaya Kasolo and Charles Oyugi.

In the ministry of finance, aid liaison officer Mariam Kiggundu, Wilbert Okello, Tony Yawe, Irene Birungi, Lydia Nalwanga and David Mugisha have been showed the exit as well as Milton Opio who verifies signatures at Bank of Uganda.

Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi told press on Monday afternoon that the President cracked the whip after an intelligence dossier and Auditor General’s report found them culpable of connivance to plunder Shs20bn from the OPM.

Mbabazi said the interdicted officials will not only face prosecution for abuse of office and causing financial loss to government but would also be compelled to refund the stolen monies.

He also promised to plug spots that were exploited by the officials to steal the aid support funds from western countries.

Mbabazi talked to the media after a meeting with foreign envoys Anne Webster (Ireland), Ambassador D. E. Frederickson (Denmark), Urban Undersson (Sweden) and Thorbjoorn Gaustadsaether (Norway) who expressed concerns over the corruption at OPM.

Others who attended the two-hour session include were Daniel Graymore (head of the Department for International Development), Theo Hoorntje (the Charge of Affairs of the European Union) and Ahmadou Mustafa Ndiaye (World Bank Country manager).

Why Museveni, Mbabazi are not letting go of Bigirimana

The entire country and some sections of the media have been wondering as to why of all people Bigirimana was being spared.

One of the reasons, a source in security told us, was because it was Bigirimana who blew the whistle that exposed the rot in the office.

At least shs14 billion donor funds were released in December from a holding Account managed by Accountant General at Bank of Uganda to Crisis Management and Recovery Account operated by Office of the Prime Minister without the knowledge of the Bigirimana.

This is evidenced from the Security documents together with Invoices and Local Purchase Orders recovered from his home and Bank of Uganda.

When the Accounting Officer (Bigirimana) discovered money had been released without his knowledge, he demanded to know how the money came.

That aside, while appearing before detectives last month, Bigirimana said he had earlier warned Kazinda against financial impropriety but the latter never listened thus promoting the former to start his transfer.

This was proved in minutes of meetings held in 2010 which were attended by Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, First Lady Janet Museveni and Kazinda himself.

Kazinda’s transfer was prompted by his professional misconduct such as manipulation of the programme items, failure to have IFMS connections to Heads of Department, failure to provide expenditure balances to Heads of Department, failure to follow Accountability Regulations and co-mingling of funds.

His elusive behavior in the management of financial matters was also a matter of concern.

A police expert also later discovered that indeed, Bigirimana’s signatures were forged by Kazinda to rob Bank of Uganda.

It’s important to note that as individual; Bigirimana has distinguished himself as an incorruptible person right from the Ministry of Education where he served in the accounts section. He is also among a few old civil servants who have a master’s degree.

Under Bigirimana’s technical leadership, the function of coordination which had been approved by Cabinet in the year 2003 but remained on paper was functionalized in the year 2009 when he arrived.

The institutional framework which brings together technical teams, Permanent Secretaries and a Policy Coordination Committee of Cabinet is currently in place due to his efforts.

As Chairman of Joint Budget Support Framework, Bigirimana has been credited for creating harmony in the way Development Partners provide support to the government.

Some of these Development Partners include Denmark, Ireland, Sweden, Germany, World Bank, European Union, Department for International Development (DFID) of the UK, Netherlands and Austria.

A source said Bigirimana has ensured the function of monitoring and evaluation is entrenched in Government to access the performance of Ministries, Departments and Agencies and is so passionate about critical analysis of performance against set targets.

With this team he has established a traffic light system of measurement.

This system looks at performance indicators derived from the Policy Statements of Ministries and use them to assess how Ministries are performing and for the last two years, Government assessment reports have been produced.

This has resulted into the Development Partners agreeing to have joint assessment with the Government something that was not done in the past.

Born in Kisoro and having been in the civil service for a cool 27 years, Bigirimana has also achieved implementing the Peace Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP) of Northern Uganda by insisting on having funds decentralised from Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to the Districts which had not gone with officials at the Ministry.

This plan was meant to harmonize all interventions in Northern Uganda for ease of coordination, help in monitoring performance and mobilising resources. Full implementation started in 2009 when I stepped in OPM.

Since then Bigirimana compelled districts to set priorities and develop work plans, with clear outputs, measurable indicators, timeframe and costs.

This approach has seen a lot of projects implemented at a faster rate and in a transparent manner.

A Monitoring Framework was put in place under the political supervision of PRDP Monitoring Committee chaired by the Prime Minister and has evaluated PRDP’s performance six times in the last three years declaring it successful.

PRDP’s success is largely credited on Pius Bigirimana who has passionately given technical sense of direction since he arrived in the 0PM.

It is because of this impressive performance that Northern Uganda is steadily recovering and has become positive to Government which may explain NRM improved performance in the last elections.

As a result, Government has made budgetary provisions and extended the life of PRDP for another three years with Development Partners promising more technical and financial support.

RELATIONS WITH DONORS

Mr Bigirimana successfully led a technical team that negotiated with World Bank on the Northern Uganda Social Action Fund 2(NUSAF 2) project. This project was negotiated in 2009 and became operational in 2010 with three components was aimed at providing livelihood support and community infrastructure.

It is regarded the best performing World Bank funded in Uganda with the disbursement and absorption beyond 50% and accountability standing at more than 85%.

The World Bank mission, which evaluated its performance rated it as highly satisfactorily, a rating which is very rare in other projects considering that NUSAF 1 was a disaster.

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