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    Minister Kasaija, Muhakanizi To Know Their Fate Over Shs727Bn PTA Loan Today



    By Stella Mugoya: Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development Matia Kasaija along with the Secretary to Treasury, Keith Muhakanizi are set to know their fate over misappropriation of over Shs720M meant to purchase drugs for National Medical Stores (NMS) today.

    The decision will follow a debate on the floor of Parliament following an investigation carried out by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that recommended the firing of the Ministry’s top officials. An investigation conducted by PAC, led by Angeline Osegge (Soroti Woman MP), into the acquisition and utilisation of the USD200M approximately Shs727,832,761,440 loan (at current exchange rate), uncovered evidence that revealed that although the funds were received by the Ministry, the intended beneficiary NMS didn’t receive the funds.

    Despite the fact that the report had been completed in August 2017, it didn’t feature on the Parliament order paper until the report came up for presentation in January 2018.
    Top among the recommendations was the call to have Kasaija censured. “For misleading the House to believe that the most critical funding objective was medical supplies, lying to Parliament in writing that NMS had never provided the needed supply contracts to enable disbursment of funds and further duping Parliament by re-packaging the same loan thus obtaining money by false pretense, the Minister of Finance Matia Kasaija must be censured,” the report read in part.

    However, after the report was presented, Kasaija, who had earlier been described as a “hostile witness” after he declined to appear before PAC during the investigations, asked the Deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah to allow him present his evidence before a decision on the matter is taken. Kasaija begged, “I want to be given an opportunity in this matter to explain. I would like Parliament to create good time for me to bring all the evidence, facts and where I have faulted I will apologize, I’m sure I have done what I ought to have done. Therefore, I would request that you give me an opportunity to give my response.”

    Oulanyah obliged to Kasaija’s pleas and allowed him to present his evidence, plenary sitting was adjourned up to 30th January 2018, when the matter is expected to come up for discussion again.
    On the other hand, it wasn’t only Kasaija that put up a spirited defence over the accusations labeled against him, but Muhakanizi too filed his defence.
    For Muhakanizi, his sins come after it was discovered that he lied to the Committee that the loan was acquired for purposes of stabilising the exchange rate with the approval of Bank of Uganda, a claim the Central Bank vehemently denied as false.

    Muhakanizi who was a former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the PTA Bank is accused of acting out of selfish interest, by insisting on acquiring the loan despite objections from the Central Bank Governor and the Accountant General, who protested against the loan arguing that the loan was not favourable because of its high interest rate.
    Yet with all the accusations and calls to have him relieved of his duties, Muhakanizi scoffed at his tormentors during a media briefing at the Ministry headquarters on 16th January 2018, saying he isn’t going anywhere.

    “I see a number of you make a statement that I am about to be sacked because of the PTA Bank loan. I can assure you I have a contract I will serve it up to the end. Take it from me because I accounted publicly in the papers for all the resources,” Muhakanizi bragged. He explained that the funds in contention were borrowed legally and the whole process passed through the same Parliament that has now turned around to investigate him, arguing he released as per appropriation of Parliament, to all the entities. The Secretary to the Treasury added, “And therefore, I am as clean as I can be. So, all those who have speculated that I am about to go, I am here. It is just wastage of your time, just concentrate on what you are doing. I am here as Secretary of Treasury for some time.” Ahead of the debate on the matter, Kasaija called for backup from his NRM counterparts during a caucus meeting at Office of the Prime Minister, but his pleas fell on deaf ears as many told him to pay for his own sins, with most of them arguing that the time to shield Government officials implicated in corruption had elapsed.
    Glance Into PTA Loan Fracas
    The funds were a loan acquired from the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (PTA). The Finance Ministry tabled a request to borrow the funds on 3rd March 2016 with the Ministry arguing that the money was meant to finance development expenditure imports and replace part of the high interest domestic borrowing on 3rd March 2016.

    Although Parliament rejected the loan proposal on 7th January 2016, with the Parliament Committee on National Economy, that was charged with processing the loan stating that Uganda is a member of the International Monetary Fund and is required to borrow to boost government reserves to finance shortfalls in the Balance of Payments if there is an urgent B.O.P deficit needed.
    In the circumstance however, Parliament found no urgency with the loan request since at the time (December 2015), Uganda’s reserves were worth 3.9 months of imports and this did not demonstrate any urgency to Uganda as its import cover is above 3 months of the import cover benchmark of the IMF, Parliament said while rejecting the loan proposal.

    Parliament’s decision to reject the loan followed a warning by the Central Bank Governor who wrote to the Minister of Finance on 2nd February 2016, objecting to the loan noting that the primary motivation for contracting the PTA loan was to stabilize the exchange rate in the face of temporary shocks, yet Balance of Payment were not purely temporary. In his recommendations, the Governor said that given the fact that Bank of Uganda had more than sufficient foreign exchange reserves to support these interventions; with the reserves in the Bank coffers at the time amounting to USD2.8Million and therefore did not require additional resources mobilised from the PTA Bank, and more so a loan.

    The Ministry of Finance however bounced back again and presented the same loan proposal for the second time on 6th April 2016, but this time around, the title of the proposal had been changed and highlighted that the loan was intended to provide medical supplies by NMS. The Ministry of Ministry of Works and Transport and Rural Electrification Agency were the other intended beneficiaries and the loan was approved by Parliament on the 26th April 2016 with signing of the loan agreement on 26th June 2016.

    It wasn’t long before National Medical Stores requested for USD68Billion after suffering numerous budget cuts and severe depreciation of the shilling against the dollar. And on 30th November 2015, Muhakanizi admitted the funding constraints and told NMS that the loan was being processed by Parliament, although by The situation continued to get out of hand and by 10th May 2016,
    NMS hadn’t received a penny and reminded Muhakanizi of the USD68Million supplementary budget. This time around, Muhakanizi said the money would be provided in the FY 2016/2017 and went on to demand NMS to submit procurement contracts for items with foreign currency requirements for FY 2016/2017, a request NMS abided with.

    In a letter dated 27th April 2017 to the Minister of Health, copied to NMS, the Minister of Finance stated that a sum of Shs7Billion had been provided as a supplementary in 2016/2017 and that Shs20Billion had been provided to NMS as arrears in 2017/2018. This time around, the Secretary to Treasury cautioned NMS should get medicines on credit worth Shs41Billion.
    According to the Committee investigations, Muhakanizi’s letter stating that Shs41Billion will be availed in the next FY2016/2017 was a confirmation that the money had not been given to NMS, despite the loan having been received by Government.
    Now, the Committee has called to have the USD200Million be recovered, re-consolidated to NMS to be used for purchase of medical supplies.


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    Stanbic Bank In Trouble, Client Petitions Court After She Was Defrauded Of Shs68m Via Flexi Pay…



    Stanbic Bank CEO Anne Jjuuko whose bank is under fire

    Nakku Joweria a resident of Kyebando has sued Stanbic Bank Uganda limited for failing in its duty of protecting her saving account leading to defrauding her of shillings 68 million which was withdrawn from her account in a period of 24 hours through Flexi pay an application she had never registered for.

    In a court case filed before the Commercial division of the High Court of Uganda and coming up for directions in the registrar Christa Namutebi’s chambers, on the 24th June, 2024 at 9:40am, Nakku Joweria through his lawyers of Kimanje Nsibambi Advocates contends that between 7th and 8th February, 2023, there was unauthorized withdrawal of 68 million shillings from her savings account No. 903000026244 via the Flexi Pay Banking, a platform of Stanbic Bank and a total of 28 unauthorized transactions were conducted by fraudsters who fraudulently accessed her account undetected by the bank.

    She questions how a savings account which had a transaction limit was significantly exceeded during the unauthorized and undetected fraudulent transactions which led to her losing her’ money.

    “Our client has been a loyal client of Stanbic bank since 2001 way before the implementation of the FlexiPay system and at no point did she sign up for or activate the flexi pay on her savings account. The 28 unauthorized withdrawals from our clients account using four unknown Airtel lines raises serious questions and/ or lapses on the part of the bank for which we hold the bank specifically liable for the loss since it was in a better position to detect and prevent this fraud had it exercised reasonable care to detect these suspicious 28 unauthorized transactions that took place within 24 hours on a savings account that was rarely operated by our client,” reads the documents in parts.

    She also questions the effectiveness of the bank’s authentication protocols with their flexi pay system, effectiveness of the transaction monitoring to the extent of allowing 28 unauthorized transactions within 24 hours using four unknown Airtel lines and significantly exceeding the account limit.

    Nakku wants court to direct Stanbic Bank to reimburse 68 million to her account that was fraudulently withdrawn and pay her the costs and damages.

    On 6th February 2023, Nakku Joweria lost her phones to the robbers on her way to work at around 9pm. She reported the incident to police at 9am and to the telecom companies on the 7th February 2023.

    However, the telecom companies MTN and Airtel couldn’t process the new simcards because she had misplaced her original National Identity card.

    The robbers used her MTN number to open up a wallet on the Flexi pay which number had four other Airtel numbers that don’t belong to her which they used to make 28 unauthorized withdraws of 68 million shillings from her Stanbic bank saving account on the 7th and 8th February in a space of only 24 hours.

    When she went to withdraw some money from her account on the 6th, March 2023 that’s when she realized that her money was fraudulently withdrawn from her account.

    She wrote to the bank manager complaining about the matter and the bank promised to do thorough investigations to reveal how the money was withdrawn by the fraudsters.

    Through her lawyers of Kimanje Nsibambi Advocates, she wrote a demand notice to Stanbic Bank manager to reimburse her money since it was their weakness and fault for failure to efficiently protect her account.

    The bank through Twine Arnold, the senior legal advisor, Risk and Dispute Management wrote back with an out of court settlement request.

    However, the bank had proposed to reimburse only 34 million out of the 68 million on the premise that the settlement shall not be taken as admission of liability by any of the parties, a proposal she rejected and instead thought for legal redress in the commercial court.


    By Sengooba Alirabaki


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    Minister Kabanda Panics As Traders Plan To Front Ssekitto To Battle Her For Kampala Central MP Seat…



    KACITA'S Issa Ssekitto and Minister Minsa Kabanda

    Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) spokesperson Issa Ssekitto has confirmed that come 2026, he is pondering contesting for the position of Kampala Central Division Member of Parliament as an independent.

    Ssekitto revealed that his decision was based on the number of requests he has received from desperate traders who think that the only way to fight bad policies and laws made against them is to have their own in the parliament to argue their case.

    It should be noted that when traders met President Museveni in May 2024 at Kololo independence ground, they warned legislators in parliament who have been passing laws against them that they are going to sponsor their own candidates against them come 2026.

    They claimed that the legislators and other leaders who they showered with votes in the previous elections have betrayed them and it is high time they take over the country’s leadership.

    Sources inside KACITA told theGrapevine that Nagenda Musoke their chairperson also plans to stand for a Member of Parliament in one of the constituents in Mukono district.

    John Kabanda also plans to stand as councilor representing Kampala Central Division on the Lord Mayor’s Council.

    The traders insist that Kampala city and Metropolitan senior minister Hajjat Minsa Kabanda has not helped them as a minister and accuse her of sidelining with their tormentors, especially the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).

    Since 2023, Minister Kabanda has been conducting clandestine political mobilization to replace Muhammad Nsereko who declared that he is not going to contest in 2026.

    Because of Kabanda’s declaration, Bobi Wine’s elder brother Fred Nyanzi Ssentamu shifted his interest from contesting for Kampala Central MP Seat to Lord Mayor fearing that chances are high that Kabanda will defeat him.

    Traders want parliament to remove EFRIS and reduce taxes on commodities especially imported items.

    However, President Museveni assured them that his government will not accept their prayers because they are against the country’s development.


    By Hadijjah Namagembe


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    Bank Bosses In Trouble For Allowing Sanctioned M7 Gov’t Official To Access Money On Her Account..



    L-R: Agnes Nandutu, Goretti Kitutu and Speaker Anita Among were all recently sanctioned

    The Western powers have kicked off investigation into allegations that bank bosses in Kampala allowed President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s sanctioned government officials to access and use their financial services.

    Sources in one of the top banks intimated to theGrapevine that their boss has been summoned at their bank headquarters in the United Kingdom to record a statement detailing how the incident happened and why.

    Sources claim that this senior government official was informed early that President Museveni was briefed about her sanctions and when she asked her lawyers what the sanctions meant, they quickly advised her with immediate effect to rush to the bank and withdraw her money which she did.

    “She came herself and withdrew her money and went with it, but we don’t know whether our bosses were already informed about the sanctions,” a source said.

    This bank source narrated to us a scenario where the former Inspector General of Police Gen. Edward Kale Kayihura’s close relative was denied the opportunity to open a bank account in their bank on grounds that his father was sanctioned and their bank was not allowed to do any financial business with him.

    Recently, the State Minister for Lands Dr. Sam Mayanja revealed that retired High Court Judge Moses Mukiibi told him that because of the sanctions, he could no longer access his money in the banks.

    He added that they asked President Museveni to intervene.

    However, the judiciary last week issued a statement noting that Justice Mukiibi is receiving his retirement benefits as a retired judge.

    Veteran journalist Joseph Tamale Mirundi explained that western powers give a sanctioned official six months to clear whatever they have in their respective countries including repatriating their relatives from their countries.

    But Alex Waiswa Mufumbiro, the National Unity Platform (NUP) deputy spokesperson said that the sanctions take immediate effect and all the money on bank accounts and properties of the sanctioned persons in foreign countries is frozen immediately when the sanctions are announced.

    Mufumbiro’s explanation was supported by a powerful security officer who told theGrapevine that recently, President Museveni posted one of his sanctioned security chief to one of the neighbouring countries; however this officer failed to access his bank account and when he tried to fix his ATM card into the ATM machine, it was swallowed by the machine and he immediately called Museveni pleading with him to withdraw him from the said country.

    Recently, the United Kingdom sanctioned Annet Anita Among the speakers of parliament, Agnes Nandutu the former State Minister for Karamoja affairs and Mary Goretti Kitutu the former senior minister for Karamoja affairs.

    Other government officials who were sanctioned include; Gen. Kayihura, Lt. Gen. Peter Elwelu, Maj. Gen. Abel Kandiho, Maj. Gen. Sabiiti Muzeyi, Maj. Gen. Don Nabasa and a number of others including members of parliament.


    By Sengooba Alirabaki


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