March 13, 2013

OPM SCAM: PAC Grills Janet Museveni

First Lady Janet Museveni. On Wednesday she denied any wrong doing in the OPM Scam
First Lady Janet Museveni. On Wednesday she denied any wrong doing in the OPM Scam

The State Minister for Karamoja affairs has described claims that she travelled to Israel nine times as blatant falsehood sold by those who sought to cover up their misdeeds.

Janet Kataha Museveni clarified that she travelled to Israel once in September 2010 to try and look for a lasting solution to the water problem in Karamoja.

Appearing before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Wednesday, Janet wondered how logically possible it could have been for her to travel to Israel nine times in a month.

Janet said this literally translated to more than two times a week simply meaning that she would travel to Isreal, spend a night there, return the following day to Kampala and shuttle back after a day’s rest.

She adds that this blatant falsehood was sold by those who sought to cover up their misdeeds yet they claim to be a nation fighting corruption.

PAC lead counsel Maxwell Akora had asked the minister to explain is she ever travelled to Israel, who was in the delegation and when. The trips allegedly cost 143.6 million shillings in donor funds meant for the rehabilitation of Northern Uganda and Karamoja.

Janet also wondered why the auditing team could not put to strict proof those who used this as a justification for their accountability.

She added that if anybody claimed that she travelled to Israel nine times the auditors could have asked for documents, vouchers of the flight tickets as well as bookings.

Officials from the auditor general’s report explained that when they made the report they noticed that it was a fraudulent transaction, by Geoffrey Kazinda the principal accountant and cashier. In order to explain how the OPM officials perpetuated the fraud, they had to mention the firms they used to get the money and names of ministers among others that is how Janet’s name was mentioned.

In one of the committee meetings to probe the financial impropriety, a cashier mentioned that she got the money and gave it to Kazinda.

The members of Parliament had demanded to know how Janet Museveni as a minister was being facilitated in OPM and whether she would sign for the money to which she kept answering no.

PAC gave the minister’s personal assistant Irene Kawuma until tomorrow to produce the documents showing who and how much was spent on this particular trip. Nine payments worth 125 million shilling were allegedly given to the delegation.

However, Janet Museveni says it is Pius Bigirimana the permanent secretary OPM and not Kaumwa who would know how much was provided. But Kawuma said she would avail the documents.

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