By Anne Mugisa
KAMPALA - The Ministry of Finance has said it is not aware of any suspension of financial support to Uganda by the British government over the alleged Kazinda fraud case.
A British newspaper, the Daily Mail, on Wednesday reported that United Kingdom had also joined Ireland and suspended aid to Uganda’s Office of the Prime Minister following reports of theft of donor funds meant for the reconstruction of northern Uganda.
The Government has already interdicted 16 senior officials in connection with the matter.
Finance ministry’s permanent secretary and Secretary to the Treasury, Chris Kassami, on Wednesday said he had not received any information that the British were also suspending aid to Uganda.
The finance minister, Maria Kiwanuka, said she could not discuss the issue, but said the Government and development partners were in discussions over the issue.
The Daily Mail, quoting an unnamed British government official, stated that UK was withholding £4m in aid to Uganda.
Auditors under fire
Meanwhile, Kassami has written to four auditors in the ministry demanding an explanation on why they failed to detect and prevent the sh63b pension scam.
In a letter dated October 30, Kassami gave the auditors – Dick Twinomujuni, Wyclife Mugume, Josephine Adukut and Richard Deliga – two weeks to offer an explanation or have their case submitted to the public service commission “for decision”.
“As an internal auditor in the pensions audit unit, you should have reviewed the systems that could have prevented or detected such a loss,” the letter, copied to the deputy secretary to the treasury and the accountant general, reads in part.
“The conduct herein mentioned severely contravened the Code of Conduct and Ethics for Uganda Public Service and Section (f-s) of the Uganda public service Standing Orders,” the letter adds.
Kassami cited provisions of the Constitution and the Public Service Commission regulations in demanding the statements of defence from the four “to exculpate yourself of the allegations levelled against you and to show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against you.”
Although Kassami, in his letter cites sh63b, preliminary police findings suggest that up to sh169b could have been siphoned from the treasury in payments to ghosts for more than three financial years 2009/2010;2010/2011;2011/2012 and part of 2012/2013.
The letter comes only days after the Government, following pressure from the donor community, interdicted 16 officials from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), the finance ministry and Bank of Uganda over the scam in the premier’s office in which more than sh50b is feared to have been stolen.