By Nasser Kasozi Akandwanaho
Finance minister Matia Kasaija has admitted to the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities, and State enterprises – COSASE that his technical staff misled him to unlawfully approve a supplementary budget of Shillings 10.6 billion to offset six land claimants. The money ended up being abused, with some being paid to ghosts by Uganda Land Commission.
The then Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban, Beti Olive Namisango Kamya Turomwe initiated the supplementary budget request as a vote under the Lands Ministry in contravention of the Public Finance Management Act, 2015.
Kasaija told the MPs that after receiving the supplementary budget request, he appended his signature authorizing payments on assumption that the technical staff, which is mandated by law to guide him had fulfilled the required procedures.
Kasaija apologized for the blunder and asked the Committee Chairperson to summon all the technical persons such as Keith Muhakanizi, the former Finance Ministry Permanent Secretary.
But the MPs were unimpressed, and listed to Kasaija a host of other blunders committed on his watch, including Entebbe airport works contract that is greatly skewed against Uganda, the recent scandalous coffee deal, other scandals like Lubowa hospital and Uganda Railways. They have consequently advised him to resign.