March 16, 2013

OPM SCAM: PAC Insists On Meeting Kazinda As Probe Ends

Geoffrey Kazinda Interdicted Former Principal Accountant in the Prime Minister's Office
Geoffrey Kazinda Interdicted Former Principal Accountant in the Prime Minister’s Office

Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee has renewed demands to meet Geoffrey Kazinda, the jailed former Principal Accountant in the Office of the Prime Minister, as it winds up the probe into a multi-billion shilling financial scam.
The committee chaired by Terego MP Kassiano Wadri this week came towards the end of the probe after meeting Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi and Karamoja Affairs minister Janet Museveni.

It is supposed to begin writing the report to be presented to Parliament, but its members feel the report will be inconclusive without the input of Geoffrey Kazinda. Several witnesses that have appeared before the committee have claimed Kazinda masterminded the scam in which up to 50 billion shillings was mismanaged. But Kazinda has not appeared before the committee since the probe began.

Wadri met Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga seeking her guidance on how the committee should proceed with writing the report without Kazinda’s testimony. In an interview, he told Press his final report could be technically lacking once Kazinda is not granted hearing to defend himself.
Kazinda, now facing fraud and embezzlement charges at the Anti- Corruption Court, has on several occasions been blocked from appearing before PAC following a request by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). The DPP Richard Buteera asked the Speaker to stop Kazinda’s appearance or that of witnesses lined to testify in court. He said their appearance would be prejudicial to ongoing criminal cases.

PAC according to Wadri also wants to meet OPM Permanent Secretary, Pius Bigirimana over fresh queries from findings on projects that were to benefit from the 50 billion shillings donor aid. The committee last week visited several parts of Northern Uganda where the money was to be invested under the Peace Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP).

Kadaga, who had previously stopped the probe following the DPP’s request, was yet to respond to PAC. Wadri says the committee wants to conclude the probe in order to embark on other queries in the Auditor General’s annual reports to Parliament.

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