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Uganda told to repay aid funds lost in OPM fraud

By Vision Reporter

Added 30th October 2012 02:25 PM

The Irish Government has told the Ugandan Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi that it wants the misappropriated funds to be repaid.

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The Irish Government has told the Ugandan Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi that it wants the misappropriated funds to be repaid.

By Vision Reporter

The Irish Government has told the Ugandan Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi that it wants the misappropriated funds to be repaid.

In a frank meeting held Monday, Irish ambassador Anne Webster made it clear the Irish Government expects the funds to be repaid. Webster and other ambassadors met the prime minister in the capital Kampala.

Irish Ambassador Anne Webster and her counterparts from the other countries affected by the €12m fraud met the Ugandan government.

According to an Irish newspaper, Independent, Uganda is considering paying back the €4m of Irish aid funds that ended up in a bank account operated by officials from the prime minister's office.

Ten senior officials from the Prime Minister’s office and six others from the finance ministry have been suspended over the alleged fraud.

A number of others from the finance ministry and Bank of Uganda are also to be interdicted, according to Mbabazi.

This was after a meeting with the donors’ representatives in which he said they held “extensive discussions” about the alleged fraud.

Mbabazi, however, insisted that the interdiction was not due to the pressure from the donors.

He declined to reveal the details of the discussions with donors’ representatives, but said the Government regrets what happened.

“We regret that this happened. As a country and Government, we are sorry it happened. It was obviously a criminal act. The theft was massive. We regret. It is a pity,” he said

Suspended officials

The suspended officials from the OPM include Martin Owor, principal accountant Geoffrey Kazinda, Arthur Mumanyire, M. Byekwaso, Isaiah Oonyu, Beatrice Kezaabu, K. Lubega, Yahaya Kasolo and Charles Oyugi.

The officials from ministry of finance are; aid liaison officer Mariam Kiggundu, Wilbert Okello, Tony Yawe and David Mugisha.

Two officials in the OPM sent back to finance with express instructions to be interdicted are Irene Birungi and Lydia Nalwanga, according to Mbabazi.

He also stated that a Bank of Uganda official, Milton Opio who verifies signatures, is also to be interdicted.

Mbabazi said OPM permanent secretary, Pius Bigirimana had not been interdicted.

He said Bigirimana was required to answer some audit queries and that their decision would depend on his answers.
He added that it was Bigirimana who blew the whistle on the fraud which necessitated investigations by both the Police and the Auditor General.

The alleged fraud involved sh16.2b that was meant for the Northern Ugandan Peace Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP).

The money was from Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Britain. The Irish government on Friday suspended all funding to the Ugandan Government.

Mbabazi said the money that was stolen included that from donors and the Ugandan tax payer “Ugandans are as angry as the citizens of the development partners,” Mbabazi said.

“We condemn that act in the strongest terms and want to assure everyone that all the necessary measures to bring those responsible to book will be carried out.”

The foreign envoys, who attended the two-hour meeting with Mbabazi were Anne Webster (Ireland), Ambassador D. E. Frederickson (Denmark), Urban Undersson (Sweden) and Thorbjoorn Gaustadsaether (Norway).

Others were Daniel Graymore (head of the Department for International Development), Theo Hoorntje (the Charge of Affairs of the European Union) and Ahmadou Mustafa Ndiaye (World Bank Country manager)

 

Uganda told to repay aid funds lost in OPM fraud

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