The Minister of Finance Hon. Matia Kassaija has bowed to pressure from the secretary to the treasury Keith Muhakanizi over fraud/ corruption allegations into the payment ugx: 150b compensation of Ugandan traders in South Sudan.
In the lates memo dated 5th March, 2019 stamped “Urgent” Minister Kasaija has ordered the Deputy Secretary to the Treasury to ensure that an audit is carried out within three months. However the Ministry has already paid about UGX. 40 billion to the 10 suspicious companies tainted with fraud allegations.
The memo is also copied to the Accountant General, Internal Auditor and the Director of Budget at the Ministry of Finance.
The whistle blowing hint by Muhakanizi indicates that there are problems in the way 10 large companies want to share the Shs 150bn without adequate verification. These companies are part of the original list of 33 firms that parliament agreed upon as qualifying for compensation because of the losses occasioned by the war in South Sudan .
In the internal memo dated 11th February 2019 (addressed to Kasaija, Bahati, Ochailap and Accountant General), Furious Mukanizi accuses his deputy Patrick Ochailap and minister Matia Kasaija for trying to use his absence to hurriedly pay out huge sums of money to questionable beneficiaries without adequate verification.
Mr. Muhakanizi spent about a month on sick leave undertaking medication in Turkey since January, 2019. He however Impromptuly showed up in office early February and resumed work for about two weeks before he headed back for his final treatment.
It is said that only 6 of the 10 companies are sham and the remaining 4 are questionable because they belong to one person and in this bid, Muhakanizi demands that the payments that had started in his absence as Ochailap acted should be halted until audit firm Ernest & Young carries out a verification Audit on the authenticity of the 10 firms that Kasaija and David Bahati want to share the first payment of 150bn.
Muhakanizi’s adversaries at the Finance Ministry are fronting Francis Kamulegeya’s Price Water Coopers to be the one to audit the 10 companies as opposed to Muhakanizi-backed E&Y thereby assuring the minister that he will not allow himself to be stampeded into signing things that will cause him problems in future and this Shs150bn cash bonanza is one such classic example.
However commenting on the matter, Minister Matia Kasaija has written an urgent memo to the Auditor General seeking for an independent probe in the allegations rotating around the compensation of Ugandan traders in South Sudan.
It should be noted that that city tycoon Apollo Nyegamehe (aka Aponye), who some officials claim to have paid Shs40bn, has since denied getting money from the ministry.
MP Simon Oyet, who has been outspoken on this matter, says that the two ministers must answer as to why they defied Parliament by shortening the list from 33 companies to just 10 which KACITA chairman Everest Kayondo says might even be proxies of big people in government.
The 10 companies likely to bring problems for Bahati and Kasaija include Rubya Investments Ltd, Kibungo Enterprises, Aponye Uganda Ltd, Afro Kai Ltd, Apo General Enterprises, Ropani International, KK Transporters, Swift Commodities Establishment, Sophie Omari and Sunrise Commodities.
The state-owned media blames the two ministers for sidelining many other companies including Roko Construction, MFK Corporation Ltd and the mighty Dott services among others.