The Uganda Peoples` Defense Force [UPDF] wants a special staggering Shs 484,500,000,000 to purchase an assortment of classified military offensive and defensive equipment before this financial year of 2014/2015 ends.
Chimpreports understands that Ministry of Defense entered negotiations with a bank in Russia through a state owned arms exporting company in mid-2014, to get a loan of USD 170m to procure the said classified military equipment.
Rosoboronexport which sources told this reporter is the Russian company, concluded the negotiations with the defense ministry and the bank late last year, and the deal to get the loan was agreed upon by all parties.
The dilemma only remained on convincing the “ever obstinate” Members of Parliament to accept and approve the loan as required by the constitution.
Ministry of Finance was thus immediately brought on board to help speed the process and the eventual delivering of the classified items.
The well-kept information which this reporter has been following finally came out in Parliament on Tuesday in an uncharacteristically closed session where journalists and Parliamentary employees were chased away from covering or attending.
The loan request which was presented to the committee of National Economy by the Finance ministry on Tuesday, was a shock to most members on the committee since the Defense Ministry was already given budget for classified expenditure in this current financial year that is remaining with three months to end.
The loan request according to sources on the committee, did not come with the traditionally required appraisal report by the Ministry of Finance which is always the first required document before any debate on loans begins.
Ministry of Defense generals including state minister, JJ Odongo, Chief of Defense Forces, Katumba Wamala among others and the Permanent Secretary flooded the committee to defend the said money presented by the Finance ministry.
Most members of Parliament however disagreed with the generals due to complexities that arose including the appraisal report, whether or not the request is a supplementary, since the financial year has not yet ended, the absence of last year’s Classified Expenditure report among others.
“We couldn’t agree with them (the ministry of Defense officials) since there was no appraisal report and the report of the last money we gave them for classified expenditure.
You also know UPDF was well covered in this financial year`s budget which all sectors are still surviving on. Let them define what they want first. Is it a supplementary request?” One of the members who spoke to this reporter but asked not to be named said.
When contacted on phone, the Defense ministry and UPDF spokesman, Col. Paddy Ankunda asked to be called later since he was in a meeting.