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$200m PTA Loan: Special Audit Report on Minister Kasaija Finalized

Matia Kasaija

Parliament has received a special audit report on minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development Matia Kasaija over his central role on misappropriated $200m PTA loan.

Early last month, Kadaga blocked MPs from further debating on alleged misappropriation of $200m (about Shs720bn) PTA loan until the Auditor General (AG) carries out an independent investigation.

A recent report from Public Accounts Committee (PAC) titled “The Acquisition and Utilization of the USD 200m loan from the Eastern and Southern African trade and Development Bank (PTA)” pinned Kasaija and Secretary to the Treasury Keith Muhakanizi for ‘duping’ and ‘fraudulently’ receiving the Shs720bn loan in guise of giving it to NMS for procurement of medical supplies.

According to the PAC report read by chairperson Angelline Osegge (Soroti district),whereas the said loan had been acquired to provide funds for NMS in order to provide the said medical supplies, despite receiving the money, the ministry of Finance did not provide the said funds to NMS.

Kadaga directed the Auditor General to carry out a special audit report on the said loan and report to parliament by February 20 before the House can debate on the PAC report.

According to the Order Paper that was released on Monday, Parliament has been recalled from recess and among the items on the order paper is the laying of papers on the “Special Audit Report on the Utilisation and Performance of the Usd 200m loan facility from Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (PTA) loan.”

A parliamentary commissioner is on Tuesday expected to lay the AG’s report on the floor of parliament and recommendations from the report will guide the House while debating the PAC report.

Last year, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga ordered PAC to carry out an investigation into the acquisition and utilization of the $200m loan that had been allegedly misappropriated.

This investigation was prompted by the public outcry that NMS, one of the key beneficiaries of the said funds had not received its portion and therefore could not purchase drugs for health facilities for this Financial Year 2017/18. Whereas the said loan had been acquired to provide funds for NMS in order to provide the said medical supplies, despite receiving the money, the ministry of Finance did not provide the said funds to NMS.

It should be remembered that on January 7, 2016, parliament originally rejected the loan proposal, but the ministry of finance changed the objective of the loan emphasizing medical supplies to get approvals required on April 26, 2016.

PAC in its report recommended for the censuring and firing of Kasaija and Muhakanizi respectively for receiving this money by false pretence.

“For misleading the House to believe that the most critical funding objective was medical supplies, lying to parliament in writing that NMS had never provided the needed supply contracts to enable disbursement of funds and further duping parliament by re-packaging the same loan thus obtaining money by fasle pretence, the minister of finance should be censured,” the report says.

 

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