Connect with us
  • MY MONEY

    Carry Your Cross: Finance Minister Kasaija Grilled For Eating 720Bn

    Published

    on

     

     

    NRM MPs have grilled and refused to back, Minister of Finance, Matia Kasaija this afternoon, in a case where he allegedly misappropriated $200m (about Shs720bn) loan that was meant for National Medical Stores (NMS) to procure medical supplies.

    This was during the NRM caucus meeting that has been convened at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) and chaired by Government Chief Whip, Ruth Nankabirwa.

    According to reliable sources that attended this meeting, Kasaija pleaded with NRM MPs to back him in the pending investigation case, where he, along with Secretary to the Treasury Keith Muhakanizi, allegedly misappropriated Shs720bn loan that they duped Parliament to approve in the guise of giving it to NMS for medical supplies.

    Investigations that were carried out last week revealed that the finance ministry did not release the said monies to NMS for its intended purpose. The NRM MPs, during caucus meeting, refused to back Kasaija saying that the minister should carry his own cross, and that they (MPs) will not accept any corruption tendencies. Many have vowed to gang up on him on the floor of parliament when the matter will be brought back for discussion.

    “We refused his nonsense. We told him that we cannot rubberstamp issues related to corruption,” an MP who preferred to speak on condition of anonymity said. When our reporter tried to get a comment from minister Kasaija, he did not mention a thing claiming he was very hungry, instead, he rushed up to the parliament canteen to eat food.

    The Buvuma MP, Robert Migadde has told the Grapevine that most of the MPs have urged the caucus to put up a committee to look into Kasaija’s case just like it was done in the case of the 6bn presidential handshake.

    The State minister for planning David Bahati, however revealed to us that Kasaija has produced evidence which the members of the caucus are going to look at and verify. He said that a small committee will have to scrutinise this evidence very soon.

    By press time, the NRM caucus that started at about 11am was still ongoing.
    It was today (Tuesday) that Kasaija and Muhakanizi were set to be ‘censured’ over misappropriation of the said funds.

    This was after a report from Public Accounts Committee (PAC) titled “The Acquisition and Utilization of the USD 200m loan from the Eastern and Southern African trade and Development Bank(PTA)” last week, pinned Kasaija and Muhakanizi for fraudulently receiving the Shs720bn loan in guise of giving it to NMS for procurement of medical supplies. The report presented by Angeline Ossege (Soroti Woman MP) observed that the ministry of Finance received the money and neither informed NMS nor gave it funds. The committee in its report recommended that minister Kasaija should be censured for misleading the House and at the same time asked for the sacking of Muhakanizi.

    During last week’s plenary chaired by Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah, Kasaija asked up to Tuesday (today) to present a statement on the allegations against him. However, parliament will have to wait a little longer for Kasaija’s statement after Oulanyah adjourned the House upto January 30.

    Last year, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga ordered PAC to carry out an investigation into the acquisition and utilization of the $200m loan that had been allegedly misappropriated.

    This investigation was prompted by the public outcry that NMS, one of the key beneficiaries of the said funds had not received its portion and therefore could not purchase drugs for health facilities for this Financial Year 2017/18. Whereas the said loan had been acquired to provide funds for NMS in order to provide the said medical supplies, despite receiving the money, the ministry of Finance did not provide the said funds to NMS. On January 7, 2016, Parliament originally rejected the loan proposal, but the ministry of finance reportedly changed the objective of the loan emphasizing medical supplies to get approvals required on April 26, 2016.

    Comments

    Click to comment

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.

    MY MONEY

    Corruption, Infighting Cited In Firing Of Top UETCL Bosses, Some To Face Investigation…

    Published

    on

    Mr. Kwame Ejalu, the UETCL board chairman and some of the UETCL staff

    Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL) has fired the company’s top bosses.

    On 10th August 2022, Kwame Ejalu, the UETCL board chairman issued a memo to staff communicating changes which were to take immediate effect among top managers of the company.

    He stated, “The Board of Directors of the UETCL, in exercise of its mandate, has made some changes at the company’s top management level, re-engineering all its business processes therein with immediate effect.

    “This exercise is an inevitable phenomenon in the company’s life, driven by rationality of efficiency, allowing for maximisation of wanted benefits in developing a good corporate governance culture at the company in the interest of its shareholders.”

    Among the affected company bosses include; George Rwabajungu (Managing Director) who has been replace with Michael Taremwa Kananura who has been the company’s manager for finance, accounts and sales in the Acting capacity; Richard Matsiko, who has been the company’s operations and maintenance manager has been appointed as the Acting deputy Managing Director replacing Valentine Katabira; Daniel Kisira, who has been the company’s principle planning and investment officer who has been appointed in Acting capacity has the Implementation manager replacing Eng. William Nkemba; Karim Abdul Jumbo has been appointed in Acting capacity as the manager for information, communication and technology and Denis Okot has been appointed as the company’s manager in Acting capacity as the operations and maintenance manager.

    Sources at UETCL told theGrapevine that the line ministers Ruth Nakabirwa Ssentamu, the Minister for Energy and Mineral Development together with Evelyn Anite, the State Minister for Investment directed Ejalu to fight corruption and internal infighting within the company to save its image.

    “Your predecessors failed in teamwork, integrity and respect for one another, which are UETCL’s core values. There were so many issues of corruption,” Anite said.

    Sources further revealed that when Ejalu started his work, a number of UETCL bosses started fighting him after he asked them how the process of land acquisition for the coming projects such as transmission lines and substations was done.

    The parliamentary committee on natural resources is also investigating the alleged corruption and infighting within the company.

    Justice Catherine Bamugemereire’s Commission of Inquiry into land matters established that UETCL bosses were involved in corruption during the acquisition of land to establish projects around the country.

    In their report, the commission members recommended prosecution of the culprits.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

    Comments

    Continue Reading

    MY MONEY

    Dott Services In Trouble As DRC Officials Confiscate Road Construction Equipment; Tshisekedi’s Men Sabotage Shs.243.7bn Deal…

    Published

    on

    Presidents Museveni and his DRC counterpart Tshisekedi preside over groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of roads in DR. Congo

    State minister for the East African Community Affairs James Magode Ikuya has confirmed that the government of Uganda is in high level talks with officials from President Felix Tshisekedi over the Shs243.7bn road construction deal signed with President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni in 2020.

    Speaking to theGrapevine, Minister Magoda revealed that they have received a complaint from Dott Services Company which was contracted to construct roads from Kasindi-Beni, Kasindi-Butembo Axis and Bunagana-Rutshuru-Goma road projects.

    “You know when you’re talking to people, especially brothers, you have to use soft means, we are also using soft means to talk to our friends from Kishasha to do what was agreed in the agreement signed by our principles,” Ikuya said.

    Vincent Waiswa Bagiire, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed that a team of officials from DRC were recently in Kampala for talks on how the agreement can be fulfilled and pleaded to Ugandans to be calm.

    He added that the Ugandan ambassador to DRC is also following the matter and very soon, it will be sorted out.

    Sources in Dott Services Limited revealed to theGrapevine that officials from DRC tax collecting body confiscated their equipment which included; excavators, tractors, rollers, cement and others on grounds that the company didn’t pay taxes to the DRC government.

    Sources in the Attorney General’s chambers also told theGrapevine that it was clear in the agreement signed by both principles and line ministers that Uganda will not pay taxes for the equipment and other material goods which will be used in the construction of the roads.

    In 2021, president Museveni and Tshisekedi made a groundbreaking ceremony at  Mpondwe on the border of both countries.

    Museveni pleaded to natives in both countries to welcome the development because it was going to ease trade among them and the entire East African countries.

    Sources revealed that president Museveni was more interested in the road construction and it was the very reason why he deployed UPDF to work with DRC forces to force the deadly ADF rebels out of DRC forests because he was very aware that their presence will frustrate the construction of the roads.

    The UPDF mountain Brigade commander Maj. Gen. Kayanja Muhanga boasted that UPDF has slashed ADF out of their hidding camps and many of them are now fugitives.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

    Comments

    Continue Reading

    MY MONEY

    Court Of Appeal Cancels High Court Order Directing NSSF To Refund Shs. 14 billion To UTL…

    Published

    on

    NSSF Managing Director Richard Byaruhanga

    Court of Appeal has cancelled an order of the High Court directing National Social Security Fund (NSSF) to return Shs. 14 billion of the 10% employer contribution for over 900 employees of Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL).

    In 2015, Uganda Telecom (UTL) top management and NSSF were sued by UTL employees as they tried to scheme and get back retirement benefits of 1,986 employees from NSSF.

    In a February 6th letter to UTL, then managing director Ali Amir and the then NSSF deputy managing director Geraldine Ssali indicated that the Workers Fund was moving to return an unspecified amount of money to the workers, but without the knowledge of the beneficiaries.

    The letter explained that the first batch, according to UTL records, was covered for 16 years regarding the matter on hand. The number, however, grew to 1,968 employees.

    The letter read in part, “UTL’s management said they had been remitting money to NSSF in error. The regulator of both NSSF and the pensions scheme Uganda Retirements Benefits Regulatory Authority (UBRA) acting boss Moses Bekabye, said the matter had been brought to their attention and a legal team was assigned to examine its contents.”

    According to Daily Monitor in 2015, prior to the writing of the letter, officials from both UTL and NSSF met on February 4th and discussed the status of the claim but the workers, some employed with UPTCL’s successor companies namely Uganda Communications Commission, Posta and Post Bank, said they had been kept in the dark about the deal.

    The Uganda Communications Employees Union, therefore, sued both the Fund and UTL in the industrial Court challenging any refund of the contributions. They secured a temporary injunction blocking any payment.

    Before the case in the industrial court could be determined, UTL filed an application for judicial review in the High Court, seeking an order to compel the fund to refund Shs. 14 billion, and obtained judgements in its favour.

    Following a ruling in May 2016, in which High Court Judge Lydia Mugambe ordered NSSF to pay the contested sum to UTL, the Fund sought permission to appeal, leading to the two parties entering a “consent to stay execution” on May 27, 2016.

    According to the consent, NSSF was to be allowed to appeal the ruling, but after depositing bank guarantees with the court to the tune of the contested sum.

    NSSF would also provide UTL with a certificate of compliance showing that the telecom company had paid up its contributions to the Fund, whose absence UTL said was precluding it from competing for public contracts.

    “When NSSF was required to issue bank guarantees and a certificate of compliance, they issued documents that were defective. This was in contravention of the agreement we had with them when they were granted the right to appeal,” Mr Andrew Kibaya, a lawyer for UTL lawyers Shonubi noted.

    This week however, three justices of the Court of Appeal who included Cheborion Barishaki, Stephen Musota and Christopher Madrama cancelled the High Court decision insisting that UTL’s application in the High Court was wrongly instituted as an application for judicial review yet it instead challenged the correctness of the Fund’s decision to collect statutory contributions from certain UTL employees.

    Speaking about the ruling, Richard Byaruhanga, the NSSF Managing Director, contended that this was a win to the UTL workers and the fund.

    He said, “We welcome the Court of Appeal’s judgement because it affirms our position that once contributions are remitted to the Fund, they belong to the employee for whom they have been paid.

    “Regarding this particular case, we are confident that as an employer, UTL errored in seeking a refund of the employer contributions on the basis of an alleged exemption.”

     

    By Kalamira Hope

    Comments

    Continue Reading

    like us

    TRENDING

    theGrapevine is a subsidiary of Newco Publications Limited, a Ugandan multimedia group.
    We keep you posted on the latest from Uganda and the World. COPYRIGHT © 2022
    P.O Box 5511, Kampala - Uganda Tel: +256-752 227640 Email: info@thegrapevine.co.ug
    theGrapevine is licenced by Uganda Communications Commission (UCC)