If we had a Parliament that is after credible personalities then Amama Mbabazi would just be disqualified. There is no smoke without fire. His name has been so much soiled that for the credibility of the country at least the MPs vetting the appointed Ministers would just drop him. But the corrective responsibility of those in NRM caucus may not give this chance. So, the common man has nothing to expect in the 5 years which have started.
MUSEVENI NAMES SSEKANDI VP, MBABAZI PRIME MINISTER
NEW UGANDA: President Museveni has appointed Bukoto South MP Edward Ssekandi as Vice President, seen here shaking hands on the steps of Uganda parliament. Photo by Stephen Wandera
Posted Tuesday, May 24 2011 at 11:41
President Museveni has announced to the NRM caucus sitting at State House in Entebbe that he has appointed former House Speaker, Edward Ssekandi as his next Vice President.
Ssekandi, will replace the Prof Gilbert Bukenya who was informed on Monday that he would be dropped.
President Museveni is also expected to name a new Prime Minister, Finance Minister and Attorney General at the ongoing Tuesday meeting. Mr Museveni has also named Security minister Amama Mbabazi as the new Prime Minister. Mr Mbabazi also doubles as NRM Secretary General.
PAC REPORT IS NONSENSE SAYS AMAMA MBABAZI
Security Minister Amama Mbabazi has launched a fresh offensive to clear his name of corruption allegations arising out of procurement deals for the 2007 Commonwealth summit (CHOGM) in Kampala.
With a report accusing him and several of his Cabinet colleagues of financial impropriety coming up for debate in Parliament this month, The Observer has learnt that Mbabazi is preparing to tell President Museveni that the accusations are politically motivated.
On Tuesday, Mbabazi confirmed that he is indeed preparing his defence, which he will present to Parliament when given the opportunity. "Yes, I am preparing the document but it is not ready," he said in a phone interview. He declined to reveal details of his defence.
But according to bits of the leaked dossier, Mbabazi denies the accusation of influence-peddling and meddling in procurement procedures. He also argues that he tried hard to explain in simple terms what his role was in CHOGM but PAC chose to write their own things in the report.
In citing politics, the minister would be playing the same card that worked for him during the Temangalo saga where he was accused of influencing NSSF to purchase his large chunk of land outside Kampala.
We have been told by impeccable sources that the minister's dossier dismisses the report by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament as having been influenced by political biases.
The PAC report, tabled before Parliament last month amidst acrimony in the House, accuses Mbabazi of influence-peddling in the procurement of security devices worth $5 million.
Sources close to the minister have told us that Mbabazi intends to use his own report to show President Museveni that in accusing him of corruption, the opposition-led PAC was playing a political game to weaken the ruling NRM party where he is secretary general.
"What is influence-peddling? What does the law say about influence-peddling? They (PAC members) need to go back to school. The poor public thinks it is a terrible crime. They don't know what it means, you the media need to help," Mbabazi told The Observer.
According to sources, Mbabazi said in his report that "no sensible person can take that PAC report seriously." Indeed the man himself told The Observer that: "There is nothing in that report that makes sense."
PAC recommended that Mbabazi be held responsible for his "hidden interest" in the $5 million TETRA communication system deal where, on his command, the money was spent outside the budget approved by Parliament for CHOGM.
"The Minister of Security introduced the idea of $5,000,000 to the President, the first time ever, the figure surfaced in the CHOGM sub-committee meeting of September 12, 2006, documented under minute 05/06," PAC said in its report.
"Whereas the minister explained to the committee that by this time he was only communicating a result of a procurement process, and that this was at the tail-end of it, it was not true. This was confirmed by Mr. Ochieng, Director of Internal Security, who stated that by the time of the above meeting, there had been no formal procurement process at that time," PAC added.
But Mbabazi distanced himself from allegations that he overlooked procurement regulations. "The PPDA Act doesn't affect me. I am not in charge of procurement," he told The Observer.
According to sources that have seen the minister's dossier, Mbabazi argues that when he introduced the deal to the President, he was only performing his duties as a policy maker and never got involved in the process of procuring the communication system.
The minister thus tells PAC to blame the officers who handled the procurement process. PAC also pins Mbabazi over initiating the deal. But Mbabazi says in his defence that he was informed by the accounting officer that the equipment would cost $5 million and that is what he communicated to the President. He adds that he made this point clear when he appeared before the PAC.
PAC, however, states that: "The Committee is concerned that the technical team had returned an evaluation of $3.2 million from Balton and the Minister of Security who is not technical raised the value to $5 million. It was also noted that the procurement of the Tetra system for the security did not comply with the PPDA regulations."
The Observer has been told that Mbabazi, who described himself as "Inspector General of CHOGM" when he appeared before the probe committee, is closely working with some members of the committee to bolster his case.
Our sources mention Saleh Kamba (Kibuku County) among others. In April, as PAC met in Jinja to write its final report, Kamba, together with MPs Alex Byaruhanga (Isingiro South), Frank Tumwebaze (Kibale County) and Beatrice Lagada (Oyam District), clashed with Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga) over the latter's attempt to blame Mbabazi for the inflated Balton deal.
There were also attempts, allegedly orchestrated by the NRM Chief Whip, Daudi Migereko, to block the report from being tabled on the floor of Parliament, or at least delay it, a move that raised tempers amongst opposition MPs.
During the Temangalo investigation, NRM MPs were again sharply divided over Mbabazi's guilt or innocence, leading President Museveni to conclude that the inquiry had been politicised. This time, the President told PAC members at State House last month that he would act on their report "as long as there are facts, evidence and no bias."
PAC chairman, Nathan Nandala Mafabi, told The Observer this week that although Mbabazi explained to the committee that he had only participated in the deal at the tail-end, the committee established that this was not true.
"The Evaluation Committee had evaluated five firms on 28th of August 2006 and come up with the cost of TETRA system at $3.2 million but on 29th August 2006, Hon. Amama Mbabazi instead wrote to the President giving the cost of the equipment as ranging from $3million to $7million. He also recommended Balton because of favourable terms," Mafabi said.
"The minister is responsible for all this. If he jumps this one like he did with Temangalo, for us we will have done our work," Mafabi added.
TEMANGALO SAGA BACK IN PARLIAMENT
Thursday, 25th June, 2009
By Milton Olupot
THE Temangalo land issue that threatened the political life of security minister Amama Mbabazi is resurfacing in Parliament as the committee on rules, privileges and discipline begins to probe allegations that Mbabazi interfered with the probe committee and that some of its members leaked the report to him.
The committee chairman, Peter Nyombi (NRM), yesterday instructed the deputy clerk of Parliament to give the members the details of the complaints, which had been referred to the committee by the Speaker.
The complaints were raised by different MPs during last year’s probe into allegations that Mbabazi abused his office when he, together with his business partner, Amos Nzeyi, sold land to NSSF at sh11b, the biggest chunk of which belonged to Nzeyi.
MPs said Mbabazi held meetings to influence MPs on the probe committee. Members of the committee, who wrote a minority report exonerating him, were also accused of leaking the report. They are expected to appear before the committee to defend themselves.
The majority report, chaired by Johnson Malinga (Independent), found Mbabazi and then finance minister Ezra Suruma guilty of breaching the leadership code, conflict of interest and influence peddling.
The minority report, however, did not find fault with the land deal, saying there was value for money, and argued that Parliament had no powers to enforce the leadership code.
Both reports were tabled before Parliament. But before the debate could start, minister Adolf Mwesige concurred that the power to enforce the leadership code was with the IGG. Consequently, the Speaker asked the attorney general for an opinion. “It is clear that the standing committee acted in good faith in conducting an inquiry under the Leadership Code and in making findings and conclusions under the code. However, it did not have any such mandate,” Makubuya advised.
Mbabazi, also the secretary general of the NRM party, has dismissed accusations of interference, saying it is a witch-hunt by some MPs who want to destroy the NRM.
Besides complaints in relation to the Temangalo saga, the discipline committee will also investigate allegations against Tororo County MP, Geoffrey Ekanya (FDC), that he abused his office as chairperson of the local government accounts committee when investigating the lease of Nakasero Market by city tycoon Basajabalala.
But Ekanya claims that his accuser, Erias Lukwago (DP), leaked his report to the market vendors before it was tabled in Parliament.
In addition, the committee will investigate a complaint of defamation by the deputy Speaker against MP Saleh Kamba (NRM). The latter allegedly accused Kadaga in the party caucus of campaigning for opposition candidate Abdu Katuntu against Kirunda Kivejinja in the Bugweri by-Election.
CHOGM SCANDAL: NRM MPs WANT MINISTERS SACKED
National Resistance Movement MPs are calling for the sacking of cabinet ministers implicated in financial scandal related to Uganda's hosting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2007.
The MPs say that with the 2011 general elections in sight, the ministers are a liability to the party.
A report on the conduct of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) implicates Vice President Gilbert Bukenya and his cabinet colleagues Sam Kuteesa, Amama Mbabazi, Hope Mwesigye, John Byabagambi, John Nasasira and Jachan Omach. Their management of the meeting is alleged to have cost Uganda billions of shillings.
CHOGM 2007 was initially budgeted to cost 270 billion shillings. However over time this was raised to 500 billion shillings. The CHOGM report accuses the ministers and several senior government officials of inflating prices, awarding conference tenders to their family and friends and profiting from the mismanagement of the meeting.
Last week President Yoweri Museveni met NRM MPs at State House Entebbe to try to resolve the matter. It ended in an impasse. A second NRM parliamentary caucus meeting was convened on Wednesday and still the MPs refused to save the ministers.
On Thursday, a daylong cabinet meeting was held in an attempt to save the ministers. By late evening no resolution had been made and cabinet insiders say there was a frantic effort to find a common way forward.
A third NRM parliamentary caucus meeting will be held on Friday to discuss the cabinet proposals.
Despite the open tension between the ministers and the caucus, few NRM MPs are willing to speak on the record about the matter.
Only Theodore Ssekikubo, the Lwemiyaga MP, has offered comment. He says the NRM stands for zero tolerance for corruption and he vows not to change his position in calling for their immediate resignation.
Read more: http://ugandaradionetwork.com/a/story.php?s=29475#ixzz3AtkHjjT4
HOW AMAMA MBABAZI, SURUMA SURVIVED THE NSSF SAGA
Saturday, 8th November, 2008
By Cyprian Musoke and Moses Mugalu
He finally managed to sigh in relief after Parliament cleared him of wrongdoing in the NSSF land saga that had dominated the public spectrum for nearly three months.
The relieved security minister, Amama Mbabazi, on Friday told Sunday Vision that he was happy the whole thing was over, adding that he harbours no bitterness against anybody.
“I am a leader and I expect to be subjected to political scrutiny. I am happy I was not found wanting in anyway. There are people who obviously wanted to use this as an opportunity to pull me down, most of them in my party, but I forgive them and we move on,” he said.
Finance Minister Dr. Ezra Suruma said: “I don’t hold grudges in my life, but I hope members realise we need discipline in the party.”
The two ministers found themselves at the centre of a controversy sparked off by NSSF’s purchase of land in Temangalo at sh24m per acre. Accusations of influence-peddling, conflict of interest and inflating the price were levelled against them, prompting a parliamentary probe.The issues threatened to tear the party apart.
It took the NRM caucus meeting last Monday at State House Entebbe to weigh the findings and recommendations of the probe committee to clear the ministers.
The meeting was convened to hammer out a party position ahead of Tuesday’s debate on the NSSF report. This followed a two-month probe after the Fund bought land from city businessman Amos Nzeyi and Arma Limited, a company linked to Mbabazi.
Two reports were produced. The main one signed by 14 of the 20 members on the committee accused Mbabazi and Suruma of influence-peddling and conflict of interest. Both ministers have shares in the National Bank of Commerce (NBC). Mbabazi and Nzeyi, another shareholder, sold their land to increase their shareholding in the bank.
NSSF is supervised by the minister of finance.
During the Monday meeting, President Yoweri Museveni explained to the caucus members that it is not the Government that decided to rescue NBC, but rather shareholders sold their properties and bought shares that were on sale.
This followed members, among them Kinkinzi East MP Chris Baryomunsi inquiring from the President whether he benefited from the sale of the land in Temangalo. The President reportedly emphasised that the Temangalo issue was simply a sale of land as the sellers needed money for other purposes.
Parliament on Thursday cleared security minister Mbabazi, Suruma and the NSSF management of any wrongdoing in the purchase of 463 acres of land.
After an acrimonious debate laced with wrestling of legal and political muscles and a walkout by the opposition MPs, the House, presided over by the Speaker Edward Ssekandi, approved a motion to absolve the ministers and NSSF.
Sources who attended the Entebbe caucus meeting said the President opined that the sale should not be equated to the cases of Greenland Bank, the Bakoko Bakoru issue or that of Jim Muhwezi.
“He cautioned that they should avoid mixing up issues. The President repeatedly emphasised that there was no reason for him to fire Mbabazi and Suruma,” the sources said.
Earlier, the two ministers had asked to apologise to their colleagues in the NRM for the acrimony that had accompanied the Temangalo saga over the last two months. The saga had divided the legislators into two camps, one claimed the two ministers were guilty, while another defended them, saying they were innocent.
According to sources, the President clarified that the apology was “more to contribute to re-building harmony in the NRM than admission of wrongdoing.”
In his apology, Suruma reportedly said sorry for unintended lapses in the entire land sale transaction. Mbabazi apologised for not having paid sufficient attention to the details of the transaction.
“Mbabazi went on to explain that he should have paid more attention to the details and also to the squatters. He clarified that all encumbrances on the land had been solved,” sources said.
Before that, sources said, there were disagreements on whether or not Mbabazi should apologise, with some legislators saying this would be admission of guilt on his part.
“But as the meeting was reaching a consensus, one member said that the Minister of Security should refund Temangalo money and also resign,” sources said. “This contribution threw the entire meeting into panic and tempers started rising, but the proposal did not find sustenance.”
According to sources, some MPs felt that the Temangalo saga was about politics and that a few were using it to get at Mbabazi for several reasons.
MP Anifa Kawooya, in her contribution during the meeting, pointed out that lies were being perpetuated in the corridors of Parliament targeting Mbabazi, who is also the NRM secretary general.
“There are many rumours here: some people accuse Mbabazi of having killed the late Brig. Noble Mayombo. Others are promoting the myth that the President wants him to be sacked, these rumours must stop and people should be honest,” the source quotes Kawooya as having said.
Buyaga MP Barnabas Tinkasimire reportedly told the President that the anti-Mbabazi group would also go for him (Museveni) after the secretary general.
“Mr. President, this move seems to be against Mbabazi, but subsequently, it is going to be against you,” sources quoted Tinkasimire cautioning Museveni.
In the Monday meeting that was characterised by “a lot of heat and finger-pointing”, the President is reported to have singled out Maj. Gen. Kahinda Otafiire and Maj. Gen. Jim Muhwezi, MPs Chris Baryomunsi and Frank Tumwebaze (Kibale) as some of those trying to make political capital from the NSSF land saga, a source said.
The President reportedly told the meeting that they were in a liberation movement where problems needed to be resolved scientifically, not emotionally, with honesty and not prejudice. He urged the members to handle the issue of Temangalo administratively, according to an MP who preferred to remain anonymous.
Museveni is said to have pointed out that Muhwezi and Prof. Apolo Nsibambi sold their land in the same place at a higher price.
“Mbabazi was a seller and this is not procurement, but an investment. It is not like supply (of goods) that needs tendering. Mbabazi has nothing to answer. Then about this Bakiga Bank, the National Bank of Commerce, this is a bank for the local people and there are shareholders even at sub-county level,” Museveni reportedly said.
He reportedly quoted a “friend” who told him that Otafiire had intimated that “when you injure a buffalo, you must finish it off because if you don’t, it will kill you”, a viled reference to his grudges against Mbabazi.
Tumwebaze, the President noted, was angry because he heard that Mbabazi had planned to sponsor the chairman of the Broadcasting Council, Godfrey Mutabaazi, to stand against him in the next election.
“I am the one in charge and I will not allow anybody to destroy the Movement, and I have the capacity,” he reportedly stressed.
According to sources, Mbabazi gave the MPs an assurance that he would not harm anyone.
Sources added that “the President also assured the MPs that he was in charge and would prevail on Mbabazi not to harm anyone”.
According to sources, the President emphasised that some people had been saying the NSSF deal was a personal matter which should not have involved the party, but he pointed out the petitioners brought it to the NRM parliamentary caucus and at that point it became a party matter and the party had no choice, but to deal with it.
In August, seven MPs petitioned the party Chief Whip, Kabakumba Matsiko, to summon Mbabazi to explain his role in the NSSF land deal when it became public. The MPs were Tinkasimire, Sanjay Tana (Tororo Municipality), Henry Banyenzaki (Rubanda West), Winfred Nuwagaba (Ndorwa East), Okot Ogong ( Dokolo), Denis Obua (Youth Northern) and Amooti Otada (Kibanda).
In the Monday meeting, which was also used to heal the divisions in the party, Museveni strongly advised the caucus to learn how to deal with mistakes in a national liberation movement or political party, asking them to differentiate between a ‘leaf that has fallen into a cup of tea and a fly falling into the same tea.’
Sources said he urged members of the caucus to speak with one voice on the floor of Parliament during the debate on the majority and minority reports.
During the stormy day-long meeting at State House Entebbe, the NRM parliamentary caucus overwhelmingly passed a number of resolutions absolving Mbabazi and Suruma of wrongdoing in the NSSF-Temangalo land sale.
The Caucus noted that there had been value for money in the land sale and that there had been no conflict of interest or influence-peddling on the part of the two ministers. The meeting also noted that the Solicitor General, in a letter to the committee last month, clarified that procurement of land was not provided for in the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) Act.
The meeting, which went on until late night, “brought out the bad, the good and the ugly, as members fully and freely expressed themselves. The atmosphere was charged, with members heckling and some ready to fight for the survival of their political party,” sources said.
GOVT GURUS HAVE STOLLEN SHS 1.4 TRILLION SINCE 1997
Tuesday, 28 December 2010 10:16 by mubatsi asinja habati
Corruption continues to keep Uganda in the news. Two weeks ago, the Anticorruption Coalition Uganda (ACCU) published a list of big corruption scandals in the country since 1997 which have never been concluded or where the accused have never been held to account. The list drawn from media reports puts the total money swindled from public coffers at a staggering Shs1.4 trillion which is a quarter of Uganda's annual budget.
In the ongoing presidential campaigns across the country, each candidate is vowing to eliminate corruption. The ACCU Executive Director, Cissy Kagaba, urges Ugandans to vote out corrupt leaders and those who purport to fight corruption but do little or nothing about it.
Quantifying the services that Ugandans would have enjoyed if the money had not been stolen, Kagaba said that at Shs 15000 of a dose of Coartem for malaria, the stolen Shs 1.4 trillion would buy 94,189,650 doses of the drug. This would drastically reduce the drug shortages in public hospitals and reduce malaria related deaths that stand at 320 every day in Uganda.
If this money was used to pay primary school teachers it would pay 6,422,021 teachers at Shs 220,000 salary per month. Given that there are 124,630 teachers employed by the government, the Shs1.4 trillion would have paid salaries of all government teachers for four years.
An evaluation report by the Joint Assessment Framework which brings together the government of Uganda and some budget support partners valued the cost of building a classroom under the Universal Primary Education at Shs14 million. Therefore the stolen money since 1997 would have constructed 100,917 classrooms saving children from studying under trees and grass-thatched classrooms.
The same amount of money would have constructed 94,189 boreholes at Shs15 million per borehole thereby saving 44% of rural Ugandans, who have no access to clean and safe water, from water borne diseases.
The ACCU shows that the money stolen by corrupt officials since 1997 is higher by Shs100m than that of Ministry of Works and Transport, the ministry with the biggest budgetary allocation in the national budget.
The 2005 Global Fund mismanagement scandal is top with the biggest money lost. It's followed by the November 2007 CHOGM scandal. The ACCU says Shs660 billion was mismanaged in the Global Fund project which was meant to fight Malaria, HIV/AIDS and TB while Shs247 billion was stolen from the Shs500 billion budgeted for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
The ACCU also cites the 1998 purchase of four junk M1-24 military helicopters by the Ministry of Defence where the country lost Shs11 billion.
In 1998 businessman Emma Kato and Gen. Salim Saleh, President Museveni's brother, were at the centre of the deal. Saleh facilitated the execution of the deal and received $800,000 off the transaction. A commission of inquiry into the purchase of the helicopters held that Saleh's US$800,000 amounted to a bribe. Museveni later said that Saleh had confessed to him that he had been offered a bribe in the purchase of the helicopters but that the president had advised him to use the money for the military operations against the LRA rebels in the north. The choppers had been bought to end the LRA insurgency. But upon discovering that the helicopters were not airworthy, the air force refused to fly them.
The commission's Chairperson Justice Julia Sebutinde recommended that Saleh, Kato and their associates in the scandal be prosecuted. But the Director of Public Prosecutions declined to charge Saleh. He charged Kato and brought Saleh as a state witness in the trial. Salehâ€™s testified in favour of Kato and the latter was acquitted.
The ACCU observes that former minister of health Jim Muhwezi and his former junior health ministers Mike Mukula and Alex Kamugisha and State House aide Alice Kaboyo were briefly sent to jail over the mismanagement of the Global Fund money, but were released on bail. Their case has never been concluded in court since 2005. Other ministers Amama Mbabazi and Fred Omach were implicated in the Shs247 billion CHOGM scandal but were later exonerated by parliament on dubious grounds.
Parliaments action killed the morale to debate the Public Accounts Committees report on abuse of CHOGM funds.
The staggering amount has been stolen despite several institutions appointed to fight corruption such as the Minister of Ethics and Integrity Nsaba Buturo, Inspector General of Government Raphael Baku, Anti-Corruption Court, Police and parliament among others.
This month the Dutch Ambassador to Uganda Jeroen Verheul announced that his country would cut its aid to Uganda by Shs10 billion due to the governments failure to punish officials implicated by the CHOGM report.
Last month the British also withheld Shs 27 billion in direct aid over the same reasons. Donors contribute 33% of Uganda's Shs7.3 trillion budget this financial year.
Transparency International has consistently ranked Uganda among the most corrupt countries in the world, a few places to top the table. The 2010 Global Corruption Barometer findings indicate that corruption in Uganda has increased over the last three years with one in four people having paid a bribe. According to this yearâ€™s report people think that political parties are the most corrupt institutions followed by the police.
ACCU warns that in the next three or more years, taxpayers will have no option but to finance Uganda's debt of Shs89 billion for the additional funding to CHOGM.
Hosting CHOGM had initially been estimated to cost Shs270 billion but due to corruption, the amount shot to Shs500 billion.
Building on the theme â€˜Do not let Electoral Corruption Kill Democracy and Developmentâ€™ Kagaba urges voters: â€œVote leaders who are neither corrupt nor condone and sympathise with the corrupt.