By Our Reporter
ENTEBBE, Uganda [SHIFTMEDIA] After feeling irked by social media concerns regarding the purported “shielding” of ‘corrupt officials’, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has directed the State House Commissioner Legal Affairs. Ms Florah Kiconco to respond to the above issues. In a State House tweet, Museveni directed Kiconco to respond to social media concerns raised by a one Aaron Kaviri regarding the shielding of former Prime Minister Rt. Amama Mbabazi , Science and Technology Minister, Dr. Musenero Masanza, and Enrica Pinetti, the Italian investor shrouded in $379m Lubowa Hospital construction saga and the Vinci Company Coffee among others.
Notably among those the President wants his legal assistant to clear the air is the Minister for Science and tTechnology Dr. Musenero Masanza. Musenero has been shrouded in many accountability issues including failing to account for the COVID-19 vaccine funds, being on the spot for ‘sitting’ on the Shs78b meant for Silk Growing project in Uganda, as well as the purchase of “COVID” Rats to the tune of shs8m.
Musenero has since defended the purchase of the ‘COVID Vaccine Rats that she purchased using tax payers money at shs 8million each.
State House Issues Statement
In her response as directed, the Presidents’ Legal Assistant, Flora Kiconco noted that most of those accused had been exonerated, either by courts of law, or by investigating bodies. Kiconco’s statement reads as thus below:
I have been directed by H.E the President to respond to some of your concerns relating to;
1. Ministers that were convicted by Courts of offences relating to corruption but were shielded by H.E the President and have been consistently and continuously reappointed like Jim Muhwezi, Sam Kutesa, Alice Kaboyo.
2. Defending of Dr. Musenero the current Minister for Science and Technology
3. The shielding of Rt. Hon. Amama Mbabazi former Prime Minister and sacrificing Kazinda
4. Madam Pinnetti and Lubowa Hospital Project where Government spent over 600bn in the name of putting up a modern hospital.
5. Shielding of Uganda Airlines officers like Jenifer Bamuturaki, the Chief Executive Officer
6. Sam Kuteesa’s New York saga.
Investigations into the misuse of Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) funds were initiated by H.E the President through a letter dated 5th April 2007 to then Inspector General of Government (Justice Faith Mwondha) in his letter. Investigations involved Hon. Jim Muhwezi who was the Minister for Health then, Dr. Alex Kamugisha (State Minister), Hon. Capt. Mike Mukula (State Minister) and Alice Kaboyo who was a Private Secretary in charge of Youth affairs in State House. They were charged with the offences of abuse of office, theft, embezzlement, causing financial loss and making false documents by the Anti-Corruption Court.
Hon. Jim Muhwezi and Dr. Alex Kamugisha were acquitted of the charges. Capt. Mike Mukula was acquitted on appeal to the High Court having been earlier convicted by a Chief Magistrate.
Alice Kaboyo was convicted on her own plea and was sentenced to a fine which she paid.
In respect to the appointment of Hon. Alice Kaboyo as Minister of State in Charge of Luweero Triangle after her conviction, the matter was considered by the appointment’s committee of parliament which approved her appointment. The Attorney General also gave an opinion to the effect that the law did not bar her from holding a public office. Therefore, her appointment was done in accordance with the law.
A Select Committee of Parliament investigated the allegations that had been made about the misuse of funds that were meant for research and development of diagnostic and therapeutic vaccines. The Committee recommended that a forensic audit into the misuse of funds be carried out by the Auditor General which was done. Hon. Dr. Musenero was not found liable for misusing the said funds.
All officers that were involved in the misuse of funds meant for refugees and other projects at the Office of the Prime Minister were investigated. The investigation led to the conviction and sentencing of the suspects that were found culpable.
No incidences of corruption have been reported in the construction of the Lubowa Specialized Hospital Project. The project is still on course although complaints were made by some people that the project should have been undertaken by Government itself instead of getting an investor, delays in project implementation etc. However, it’s a good project which will make specialized treatment accessible to Ugandans as opposed to the continuous spending of huge sums of money on medical tourism as has been the case for many years.
Issues affecting Uganda Airlines are of a policy nature like the organization structure, inequality in recruitment, alleged recruitment of non-qualified staff etc. These said issues were investigated by Parliament and there’s a report to that effect. The allegation of corruption against Jenipher Bamuturakyi, the Executive Director was referred by the Committee to Police for investigation.
The allegation against Hon. Sam Kutesa regarding the obtaining of money from a Chinese national during his tenure at the UN was investigated by the former Attorney General Hon. William Byaruhanga on my directive and Parliament was briefed accordingly. It is therefore, a matter of public record and information can be obtained.
Commissioner Legal Affairs, State House