MINISTER of justice and constitutional affairs, Kahinda Otafiire, has taken exception to innuendos by lawmakers that he quickly sanctioned the payment of sh15.4b
By Moses Walubiri
MINISTER of justice and constitutional affairs, Kahinda Otafiire, has taken exception to innuendos by lawmakers that he quickly sanctioned the payment of sh15.4b as legal costs to a 'ghost' law firm because he personally knew the lawyer clamoring for the pay.
"I don't think I am stupid as I appear. With all due respect, you're insulting my intelligence," Otafiire told lawmakers on the House committee on public accounts on Tuesday.
The committee is scrutinizing value for money audit report by the Auditor General, John Muwanga, in which he raised a red flag on the mismanagement of the pension sector – whose highlight is the sh165b paid to ghost pensioners.
It has since emerged that Otafiire wrote two letters to ministries of finance and public service over money owed to lawyers that represented the pensioners in their case against government.
The pension claimants had been represented by lawyer John Matovu in which they were awarded sh28b as damages for government's delay to pay their annuity.
Former Permanent secretary ministry of public service, Jimmy Rwamafa told the committee last week that he sanctioned the decision to pay Kasango sh15.4b at source on account of Otafiire's letter.
However, Otafiire, although conceding writing the first letter to the ministry of finance says the second letter to the ministry of public service is a forgery.
"I don't remember writing that letter although it has a signature resembling mine," Otafiire said.
Asked why he never carried out due diligence to find out whether the documents Kasango presented to him were authentic, a chuckling Otafiire said he had no reason to doubt.
"I know Kasango as an officer of court. The documents were signed by Justice John Keitirima, whom I know well. I had no reason to doubt," Otafiire said when committee chairperson, Alice Alaso told him that some of documents that supported the payment were forged.
I am not stupid as I appear - Otafiire