The Minister of Finance, Matia Kasaija has told the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that he wouldn’t defy President Museveni who had summoned him for a meeting at State House in respect of the early meeting with the committee.
Last week, the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga expressed disappointment with the conduct of the Minister who has on several occasions treated Parliament with contempt.
The Speaker thus committed Kasaija to the Rules and Privileges committee of Parliament to explain himself over indiscipline.
On Thursday, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairperson, Angelina Osege told members that the Minister had become a stumbling block in the committee’s pursuit to investigate whereabouts of the Preferential Trade Area (PTA) funds that were approved by Parliament.
Osege noted that the committee had written several letters inviting the Minister but he simply paid a deaf ear.
“On receipt of the letter from Ministry of Finance office, I the Chairperson phoned the Minister on his mobile phone in an attempt to establish a way forward; to my dismay and surprise, the Minister stated that PAC cannot do anything, he could not and shall not come and hung up,” Osege told Parliament.
Appearing before the committee on Tuesday, Kasaija noted that he couldn’t not attend the meeting because he had been summoned for an urgent meeting by the President at State House.
“On Wednesday evening, I was summoned that I had to be at State House to receive important statements; very early in the morning, I rang Hon. Gerald Karuhanga telling him that I would not be able to attend the meeting with PAC,” The Minister said.
Kasaija said that he had requested from the Committee chairperson, Karuhanga that in case he finishes the meeting at State House on time, he would later join the committee which never happened since the meeting ended late in the evening.
“As I was entering State House, I received a phone call, I didn’t know who rang me; I explained that I had talked to Hon. Karuhanga, I couldn’t come since I was at State House,” Kasaija explained.
“Then the voice says you must come if you don’t then we shall go ahead and write anything; I was threatened and I said I can never be threatened. I said to the voice because I didn’t know it were you (Angelina Osege), you didn’t introduce yourself that you were the Chairperson PAC, I didn’t hear that.”
Kasaija added that, “I never refused to attend the committee meeting, that was a big lie; if somebody says that I defied to go to the committee he is telling a lie; I was in a situation of whether defying my boss the president or not.”
“I am sorry what happened that Thursday; I was reactive, I wouldn’t have reacted the way I did and I apologize for that.”