4 December 2012

Uganda: PAC Grill Bigirimana Over 6.9 Billion

The permanent secretary in the office of prime minster (OPM) Pius Bigirimana has failed to explain how 6.9 billion shillings was fraudulently transferred to the national disaster management account and disappeared without accountability

He was appearing before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chaired by Paul Mwiru investigating the scam in OPM.

Bigirimana said, "I know the release made by the accountant general ...but I am not aware of how the 6.9 million came to that account."

He told the committee that he only participated in spending the money on the disaster

management Account but has never seen the missing 6.9 billion shillings.

However MPs quizzed Bigirimana on how he spent money from the same account where the 6.9 billion was deposited without detecting it. They noted that the 6.9 billion was spent outside the disaster management policy.

PAC also grilled the Agriculture officer in charge of PRDP in the OPM Johnson Owal for failing to account for 2.7 billion shillings for PRDP projects in Karamoja and Northern Uganda.

MPs said that OPM gave Owal 300 million shillings in cash for construction of houses for teachers and health workers and training police constables in Karamoja. There is no accountability for this money.

PAC says the move by OPM to advance 300 million shillings in cash to Owal was wrong as it is subject to abuse and theft.

MPs said that the money lost in OPM was spent without work plans and budgets.

The Assistant commissioner in charge of Karamoja affairs OPM Martin Etiang refused to

take Oath. He told the committee that the principal accountant, Geoffrey Kazinda would deposit money on his account and later come for the money.

He cited when he requested for 50 million to implement activities in Karamoja , and was given cash. After implementing the activity he asked for more 50 million shillings but Kazinda deposited 100 million shillings in his account. This was more than he had initially requested.

"I got 108million in my account and then Mr. Kazinda asked me to bring back the 58 million he gave me in cash," Etiang told the committee.

MPS said that Etiang and Kazinda could have shared this money because the money Etiang received was later handed over to CID officers for further interrogations in relation to fraud.

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