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Former Accounting Officer at Uganda’s Washington Embassy Grilled for Refusing to Hand Over Office

Patrick Muganda taking oath before the committee

Members of Parliament (MP) sitting on the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) have continued to unearth intrigue, mismanagement and in-fights at the country’s different foreign missions.

The MPs yesterday were interfacing with the former Accounting Officer at the Washington Mission, Patrick Muganda who according to the Auditor General’s report 2015/2016 refused to hand over office after being relieved of his duties.

The committee chaired by Ntungamo Municipality MP Gerald Karuhanga learnt that Muganda even closed his office for six months as he was leaving the Mission, owing to bickering with the incoming Accounting Officer, Stilson Muhwezi.

The committee found that Muganda stayed at the Mission illegally for over a year, and that Muhwezi operated for a whole year without a hand over report from the outgoing A/O.

In his defense however, Muganda said he handed over to Muhwezi at a ceremony which was presided over by the Ambassador Oliver Wonekha and issued a hand over report.

Muganda was thus asked to produce a copy of the hand over report to the committee, which members however found lacking since it had no signature of the incoming Accounting Officer.

“I handed over the instruments of power, the cheques, the keys and the Visas to Muhwezi; the report was written and handed over to him but he declined to sign it,” Muganda claimed.

Members found Muganda contradictory in his submissions to the committee and resolved to put him to oath.

At this time Muganda revealed that he found the mission operating in chaos which later caught up with him, as misunderstands emerged between him and Muhwezi, who was a staff member at that time.

“After I declined many unfounded demands from different officers, Muhwezi rallied all staff against me; the situation became hard for me, I lost weight, I greyed like you can see because of the situation at the embassy,” Muganda said.

He added that, “Hell broke loose when they appointed Muhwezi as the accounting officer; usually at the end of every financial year we are supposed to finalize accounts returns and with the help of other officials, Muhwezi blocked my password.”

Members still were not satisfied by Muganda’s submissions and requested that he provides the email as proof that he indeed sent a copy of the handover report to the Ambassador.

 

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