The Public Accounts Committee report into the allegations of Corruption in the Office of the Prime Minister has implicated the former permanent secretary Pius Bigirimana and Keith Muhakanizi, the secretary to the treasury and other officials from the OPM and Bank of Uganda. Kasiano Wadri, the outgoing chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee tabled the report before parliament on Wednesday. The report pins Bigirimana and other officials in the OPM for among other things diversion of funds, negligence of duty and spending money outside the budget frame work.
The committee notes that the actions of the officials cost government billions of shillings and wants them held accountable. The report recommends that Pius Bigirimana and the former Accountant General in the OPM Gustavo Bwoch be held responsible for diversion of funds from the Norwegian government support to the Peace recovery and Development Program (PRDP) North Account at OPM.
The committee notes that 11.1billion shillings was diverted from the project account on 30th November 2010 to an account that had been dormant since 2009 on written directives from Pius Bigirimana to the Accountant General in breach of the Joint Financing Agreement-JFA. According to the agreement, the money should have been sent to the consolidated fund and released to respective implementing agencies following appropriation by Parliament. The committee also wants Bigirimana held accountable for negligence of his duties as provided for under the Integrated Finance Management System- IFMS.
The committee observes that approval of invoices on the IFM is the most critical stage in the payment process which responsibility is limited to the Accounting Officer only. He is particularly faulted for irregular allocation of responsibilities, which led to the theft of 16.2 billion shillings. The audit review into the IFMS data base revealed that the responsibility of approving invoices was irregularly assigned to the Principal Accountant Geoffrey Kazinda by Chris Lubega a database Administrator at Finance Ministry on 1st February 2011.
The committee notes that armed with privilege, Kazinda subsequently approved and paid a total of 16.2billion to various individuals and suppliers purportedly without the knowledge of the PS. The committee suspects that this was done to defraud government with possible collusion of all the people involved. PAC insists that Bigirimana should have known by checking his balances on that IFMS that unauthorized payments were being made.
Bigirimana is also implicated for spending funds that were not appropriated to the OPM amounting to 4.6billion shillings, diversion of 3billion of PRDP funds to Karamoja for cattle branding and others. A minority report from the same investigations tabled by Joseph Sewungu, the Kalungu MP implicates the Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi for alleged failure in political supervision, diversion of OPM funds to buy vehicles for himself and minister and interference in the transfer of Geoffrey Kazinda.
Both the main and minority reports are due for discussion on Tuesday next week before parliament adopts or amends the recommendation for implementation.