The security of the country is at stake unless government comes up and immediately increase funding to intelligence bodies mainly ISO.
The parliamentary committee on presidential affairs chaired by Mudimi Wamakuyu was alarmed to learn that most Intelligence stations across the country are soon closing down and ISO being suspended altogether due to lack of operational funds.
The ISO bosses led by presidency minister Frank Kagyigi Tumwebaze informed the committee that this agency has suffered perennial underfunding with its budget stagnating at merely shs8bn in the past five financial years.
Tumwebaze and his group had come to the committee to defend a proposal to seek a supplementary budget for ISO among other entities in order to run their activities.
On ISO, the supplementary being sought for is shs6.5bn to facilitate its operations.
The same ministry is seeking shs600m to operationalise a newly created Kampala City Metropolitan Office and shs171m which was used to cater for the medical bills of presidential senior advisor on media and PR John Nagenda among others.
“As we talk now, our field operations are now grounded. The last five years, the budgets for ISO have been exhausted mid financial year. We are always getting emergencies which require funding. ISO has no money,” the officers stated before they were ordered to stop revealing the intelligence data which is treated as classified.
Tumwebaze added that, “honestly, ISO; we are still asking for funds. DISOs, GISOs cannot move. We are asking finance to handle this as an emergency.”
The committee had that because of facilitation frustration; some DISOs today are extorting cash from individuals who give cash to influence their intelligence reports.
The committee wondered whether the country is safe now that there are several security threats but those to detect crime are not on the ground.
Tumwebaze informed the committee of a cash bonanza that has been given to RDCs and their deputies in form of fuel.
He said that whereas RDCs have been getting shs900000 per month for fuel, this time round, the RDC will bag shs2.5m.
The deputy RDC instead of the usual shs500000 fuel facilitation will this time smile home with shs1.5m.
In addition, their car tyres are also going to be replaced with new ones because the plan to procure 490 tyres is already in place.
“The RDCs are expected to account for this facilitation. Even those who do bad work should be reported. You can’t say that all MPs are killers because one member [Godi] killed his wife” he said after members cried to him that RDCs disorganizing them in their constituencies.
Some members suggested that the increase in RDCs’ facilitation is going to boast them in their efforts to fail some members.
In fact, some members asked Frank to reshuffle RDCs and rotate them but the minister was candid enough to tell the MPs that even RDCs have reported cases where politicians interfere with their work of monitoring government programs.
He said the ministry recently took a decision to wipe out all academic dwarf RDCs and only qualified ones were appointed.
He also said the ministry has embarked on retooling the RDCs in addition to disciplining some erratic RDCs.
Meanwhile, the committee directed Tumwebaze to come up with sanctions against all ministries, departments and agencies of government which ignore reports by presidency ministry on problems affecting their dockets on the ground.
Tumwebaze reported that much as his ministry makes reports to those ministries, departments and agencies on matters affecting their sectors on the ground but the departments ignore the reports.
“In our structure, the presidency is the supreme in this country. Therefore you are carrying the banner of the presidency. You are therefore not under anyone not even the prime minister. You can order and issue sanctions to all those MDAs which ignore those reports.” the committee told him.
The committee however, went up in flames over a decision by the presidency ministry to foot medical bills for Museveni’s special advisor on media and PR John Nagenda.
The members reasoned that this assistance is being applied selectively.
The members cited the late Bbaale Francis who died like a pauper without any government assistance yet he served the country diligently.