By Sandra Birungi
Government officials have been pinned in a recently leaked Office of the Prime Minister report.
Among the pinned are Secretary to the Treasury, Mr Keith Muhakanizi, Accountant General Gustavo Bwoch, Commissioner Treasury Services Isaac Mpoza, outgoing Permanent Secretary in OPM Pius Bigirimana, interdicted accountant in OPM Geoffrey Kazinda and other technocrats in the Finance ministry and Bank of Uganda.
The 86 page long report of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee on the abuse of foreign aid in the Office of the Prime Minister shows the officials being involved in a scam where more than Shs50 billion was lost.
In the report, the different government officials are assigned levels of guilt. It goes ahead and makes varying recommendations depending on their level of responsibility in the scam. The money in question was meant for post-war reconstruction in Northern Uganda and Karamoja sub-regions under the Peace, Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP).
The report is going to be discussed in Parliament next week.
It recommends that Mr Bwoch and Mr Mpoza be held responsible for negligence in failing to detect and stop the fraudulent transfer of Shs6.9 billion from the Royal Danish Kingdom and Sweden in addition to holding them responsible for sanctioning the transfer of the funds.
Mr. Bwoch however denies any involvement in the misappropriation of funds saying, “I did not handle that money.”
The report recommends that Mr. Muhakanizi, who was Deputy Secretary to the Treasury then, be held responsible for causing financial loss by giving open-ended authority to withdraw imprest above the limit set by his former boss Chris Kassami; he has since retired. It goes ahead to recommend that CIID investigates the extent of forgery on cash withdrawals in OPM with a view of prosecution of the culprits.
On the alleged misuse of Shs11.6 billion from Norwegian support to PRDP, the report recommends Mr. Bwoch and Mr. Bigirimana be held responsible. It also recommends that the PS be held responsible for spending funds that were not appropriated to OPM.