The Uganda Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee has summoned Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi and the First Lady who is also the Minister in charge of Karamoja Janet Museveni to explain their role in the mismanagement of Shs 50bn from the Office of the Prime Minister, whose purpose was the rehabilitation of northern Uganda recovering from two decades of war.
According to Paul Mwiru, Jinja East’s Member of Parliament who is also the Vice Chairperson of the Parliamentary Accounts committee, February 6 is the date the two big names are expected to appear before the committee that many politicians dread.
Paul Mwiru adds that the two big shots Mbabazi and Janet Museveni are expected to give their views regarding the accusations against them the inquiry at the Office of the Prime Minister because they are both ministers and the political heads of these ministries who supervised the projects.
Janet on her part is expected to clarify her nine travels to Israel in one month. The first Lady, who is the MP for Ruhaama county and minister for Karamoja Affairs which falls under the OPM, is said to have used at least Shs 143.6m in donor funds meant for the rehabilitation of Northern Uganda and Karamoja to travel to Israel nine times in one month last year.
The acquisition of Prime Minister Mbabazi’s new Mercedes is questionable and he will be expected definitely to explain how it was acquired.
Pius Bigirimana, the Permanent Secretary in the OPM is alleged to have withdrawn Shs 20.1bn from the Crisis Management Account to purchase new cars for ministers in his office, including a brand new Mercedes Benz for the Prime Minister.
Mbabazi will also explain why he blocked the transfer of the former Principal Account Geoffrey Kazinda, a key suspect in the scam. Kazinda is also expected to appear although there’s a court order barring his appearance.
According to last year’s Auditor General’s report, the first Lady travelled to Israel in November last year.
The appearance before the committee of Kazinda whose health and court hearings have been a matter of debate has divided Members of Parliament considering the court order against it.
The speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has however ruled that the indicted Kazinda should appear before PAC, although some members of the committee oppose the move.
According to those in support the sub judice rule does not arise since the speaker already ruled on the matter and according to Mwiru, Kazinda is expected to appear before the committee since he is the principal witness in the whole investigation.