2 November 2012

Uganda: No Double Standards, Interdict PS Bigirimana - MPs

Parliament Thursday passed a motion asking the Government to interdict Pius Bigirimana, the permanent secretary Office of the Prime Minister.

Some MPs had also demanded for Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi's head asking that he steps aside but the move failed.

MPs said that under the watch of Pius Bigirimana funds had disappeared from the Office of the Prime Minister and has led the UK, Irish and Danish governments to cut off aid to Uganda.

The Irish government withdrew the aid last Friday following the disappearance of sh13.2b from the Prime Minister's Office meant for the Peace, Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP) of Northern Uganda. The money was allegedly transferred to accounts of officials in the Prime Minister's Office.

The House unanimously passed a motion moved by the chairperson of the greater North Parliamentary Forum Felix Okot Ogong. Ogong also Dokolo county MP moved a motion that had three prayers. The first was that government should conduct a forensic and value for money audit of the PRDP and all programmes such Northern Uganda Social Fund I and II that were under the Office of the Prime Minister meant for Northern, Eastern, Karamoja and West Nile regions.

The second prayer was that the Public Accounts Committee should handle the report of the auditor general that discovered the loss of funds and make a report to Parliament.

The third was that Mbabazi should make a statement to Parliament explaining what step he was taking to stop further loss of funds and what measures he was taking against those implicated.

Cecilia Ogwal Dokolo Woman MP moved a fourth amendment which asked that government should interdict Bigirimana and all officials involved in the loss of funds. Ogwal's amendment adopted after many MPs had said that Bigirmana treatment smacks off 'double standards' in the fight against corruption.

Mbabazi said he supported the motion but he was silent on the decision to interdict Bigirimana.

"There was mismanagement of funds; there was outright theft of funds. Government regrets this happened. We condemn it in the strongest terms, it was a criminal action of some officers," Mbabazi said.

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