PAC report names ministers for possible sack

PAC chairperson Alice Alaso
PAC chairperson Alice Alaso

A new Public Accounts committee report has pinned ministers over abuse of public funds.
Those accused are former finance minister, Syda Bbumba, Secretary to the Treasury, Keith Muhakanizi; Fisheries minister Ruth Nankabirwa; former Vice President Specioza Wandira Kazibwe and workers MP Sam Lyomoki among other government officials.
The report presented by committee chairperson, Alice Alaso, comes out of a scrutiny of the auditor general’s special audit on the presidential initiatives market vendors and small business operators fund.
The fund was a brainchild of a joint steering committee under the chairmanship of Sam Lyomoki and three other members.
The committee had conceptualized the idea as a way to create a fund to help small market operators whom, they argued, had missed out on existing opportunities for financial support from government programs.

The fund was a brainchild of a joint steering committee (JSC) under the chairmanship of Mr Sam Lyomoki (MP Workers) and three other members. JSC had conceptualized the idea as a way to create a fund to help small market operators, across the 112 districts, whom, they argued, had missed out on existing opportunities for financial support from government programs.
The program, the report says, was presented to the president, as an empowerment program with high political with high political returns if well implemented, and was subsequently approved by the president.
The plan was that based on the number of vendors registered, shs10M, shs152.7, shs45.81, shs5M and shs76.35 would be given to every one hundred vendors. The monies were secured through supplementary budgets and would be passed through Saccos.
However, the committee notes that the officials who were involved in securing and disbursing the funds used the opportunity to flout financial procedures, which could have led to financial loss.
Minister Syda Bbumba, the report says, initiated the shs10billion supplementary to parliament without request by the accounting officer. To this, the committee recommends that she is held accountable.
The report also notes that secretary to the treasury, Keith Muhakanizi for irregularly submitting a shs14 billion supplementary schedule, purportedly to finance the initiative, but the schedule had not originated from any ministry or department.
Ruth Nankabirwa is among other things accused of influence peddling when she purportedly ordered the inclusion of Kiboga, her home district in the areas to benefit from the program.
Presidential adviser, Moses Byarugaba, is accused of having smuggled into the program, groups that failed to account for the monies advanced to them. The shs100m to his name was disbursed to car washers and food vendors in Rubaga division. The report recommends that he be held liable for influence peddling.
Senior Presidential Military Advisor Gen Salim Saleh is also accused of directing project officials to include beneficiaries from Jinja and Arua NRM youth leagues.
This, the committee says was influence peddling and using public funds for politicking and that that General should be liable.
The report is due to be open for debate on Thursday.

Story by Isaac Imaka