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PAC Arrests Former Beijing Mission Boss, Isingoma for Theft of Visa Stickers

Former Beijing Accounting Officer, Joseph Isingoma being grilled by PAC

The Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has committed to police the former Accounting Officer of Uganda’s Mission in Beijing, Joseph Isingoma over theft of Visas and non-remittance of Non Tax Revenue (NTR) mostly collected from the Visa sales.

Isingoma was appearing before the committee to respond to the queries raised in the Auditor General’s report of 2015/ 2016.

In the report, Isingoma was faulted for spending Shs. 350, 615, 088 and Shs803, 476, 992 without permission from the Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury (PSST).

The committee chaired by the Vice Chairperson, Gerald Karuhanga noted that Isingoma’s actions were in breach of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

The report further implicates Isingoma and one Alex Bamya, the embassy attaché in the loss of 250 Visa stickers worth $25, 000 which disappeared in Isingoma’s custody and were sold in  Beijing .

In his defense, Isingoma said the Beijing Mission was a bit unique, with too much pressure on meeting expenses especially on medical since the  Chinese capital is highly polluted.

“The demands at the mission were over and above the money budgeted within that Financial Year I was the Accounting Officer which is the cause of the over expenditure,” he said.

Isingoma says he took the decision to spend NTR on medical bills “from the compassionate point of view” considering that “some of the staffers were having miscarriages yet there was no health insurance.”

The committee tasked Isingoma to prove he requested permission from the PSST to make such expenditures and also proof that money was spend on medical expenses; which he failed.

He requested for time to contact colleagues in Beijing but the chair declined to the request, saying that he appeared before the committee knowing the queries he was to face.

On the theft of 250 visas, Isingoma claimed he learnt that the visas were stolen from his store by the then financial attaché, Alex Bamya, and that he reported the matter to all the relevant authorities and the matter is still under investigation.

Isingoma was asked for the evidence that he reported to the authorities which he never produced before the committee prompting the chair to commit him to the Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (CIID) of police for further investigations.

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