OPM SCANDAL: Bigirimana Testifies Before Parliament

look geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%; text-align: justify;”>Bigirimana arrived at exactly 9:00am, viagra approved long before PAC members accessed the Conference Hall of Parliament.

health geneva;”>Interestingly, he was the one welcoming MPs to the venue.

Accompanied by Under Secretary in charge of Northern Uganda Flavia Waduwa and other officials, Bigirimana denied accusations that he never wanted interdicted Principal Accountant Geoffrey Kazinda transferred.

Bigirimana told the committee that the abysmally outrageous ravaging of funds in the OPM would not have been possible without the cunning machinations of Mr Geoffrey Kazinda who was, until June 2012, the Principal Accountant seconded by the Accountant General to work in that position in the OPM.

“I had previously reprimanded Mr Kazinda about his unprofessional conduct at work which included among others failure to support Heads of Departments in managing their expenditure by availing them balances of their allotted spending budgets on the IFMS; failure to disburse personal allowances directly to the bank accounts of individuals to whom they were due; failure to ensure that all authorized personnel get duly registered on the IFMS; chronic absenteeism from duty; habitual disbursement of funds to officers who had failed to account for previously received funds, et cetera,” said Bigirimana.

The PS said it was inevitable, following Kazinda’s “unremorseful conduct” over a long period of time, that he requested the Accountant General to withdraw Mr Kazinda from his position at the earliest opportunity.

Bigirimana further told the committee that his efforts to get rid of Kazinda were futile because of the intervention of Premier Amama Mbabazi.

“Having warned Kazinda on several occasions against financial impropriety, I telephoned Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi about it. He said ‘why do you want to transfer him? Talk to the people who deploy them.’ Then I wrote to the Accountant General Mr Gustavio Bwoch to take appropriate action before travelling out of the country,” testified Bigirimana.

The PS added that upon returning from abroad, he was summoned before the Prime Minister’s office where he found Mbabazi, Kazinda, Bwoch and other commissioners.

Kazinda had exploited Bigirimana’s absence to “maneuver” through and reach Mbabazi, the PS testified.

“Mbabazi asked Bwoch: ‘Is this man involved in fraud?’ Bwoch replied that Kazinda was innocent before Mbabazi said the accountant should stay. That’s where my efforts to have Kazinda transferred ended,” said a confident Bigirimana, adding the meeting was “instructive.”

Bigirimana said it was not until Kazinda went missing for days before handing in audited reports that he got so concerned and chose to take radical steps.

After Kazinda’s arrest, Bigirimana asked the Auditor General to carry out a forensic audit into the entire financial operations before unearthing details showing massive fraud.

“I am the whistleblower. I called for the forensic audit. No one else did,” Bigirimana told MPs who were visibly split on the questioning style.

MPs quarrel

Acting PAC Chairman Paul Mwiru on several occasions warned his committee members against “distracting” the witness and “evaluating” evidence before the entire investigation is complete.

“Please, let us wait for the witness to answer questions raised then we shall compare notes and make recommendations,” Mwiru charged at MPs who were struggling to catch the attention of the media.

Regarding the controversial transfer of then internal auditor Shaban Wejula who was branded a “fault finder” by Bigirimana, the latter said he sought “political guidance” of then Prime Minister Apollo Nsibambi who recommended the matter be referred to the Finance Ministry which deploys auditors.

Treasury Secretary Chris Kassami and Keith Muhakanizi recently told PAC that it was Bigirimana who asked for the transfer of the former Principal Internal Auditor, Shaban Wejula.

“The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Treasury Keith Muhakanizi told me on phone that he indeed knew that Wejula was corrupt. He asked me to put my request to transfer him in writing which I did on April 19, 2001,” he further said.

He also clarified that it was “dependent upon Finance Ministry to say yes or no” regarding the transfer of Wejula.

“I did not have a bulldozer to remove Wejula,” said Bigirimana, sending the entire audience into rib-cracking laughter.

The PS said he based his decision to get rid of Wejula basing on failure to render proper management technical advice regarding inspection of systems, procedures and risky areas and asking for bribes which was “gross misconduct on the part of a civil servant.”

Quizzed on why he always sought “political guidance” before taking “appropriate action” against Kazinda and Wejulo, Bigirimana said his actions have “political implications.”

He further stressed that notifying political leaders of the operations in the Ministry has “no harm” and is the “right thing” to do.

Asked whether he would resign to pave way for investigations, Bigirimana said such a move would tantamount to “absconding from duty.”

This statement also excited the MPs and journalists in the Conference Hall.

Kazinda could not be produced to PAC as it would be “prejudicial” to a court case where he is facing charges of theft, embezzlement and fraud that saw government lose billions of shillings at OPM.

Bigirimana also took advantage of the national platform to express his dismay at being “victimized” despite “unearthing systemic weaknesses” in the OPM which are now being addressed.

Bigirimana made the statements on oath as part of a Parliamentary investigation into the loss of PRDP funds in 2011 that have seen donors suspend aid.

Uganda has promised to refund the stolen aid with the view to recover the monies after conviction of culprits.

Mbabazi recently said culprits would have their properties seized and auctioned to return the lost money.

Below we show some papers which are part of Bigirimana’s evidence


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