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IGG clears Amama Mbabazi

By Vision Reporter

Added 21st June 2011 03:00 AM

THE Inspector General of Government has cleared Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi of any wrongdoing in the procurement of security communication system for the 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

THE Inspector General of Government has cleared Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi of any wrongdoing in the procurement of security communication system for the 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

By Barbara Among

THE Inspector General of Government has cleared Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi of any wrongdoing in the procurement of security communication system for the 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

The IGG cleared Mbabazi of alleged influence peddling, conflict of interest, causing financial loss and flouting procurement laws.

“From the details in the findings and documents on record, there was no evidence to indicate conflict of interest and influence peddling in the process of procuring Tetra Communication System by Hon. Amama Mbabazi Minister of Security or any other person as stated in the PAC report of May 2010,” said the IGG.

IGG recommended that the file opened on Mbabazi in relation to Chogm allegations on this transaction be closed.

“Therefore, no case has been established for prosecution or disciplinary action against any of the people involved in the procurement of the Security Communication System,’ read the report.

The Parliamentary account committee (PAC) had accused Mbabazi, in its Chogm report, of influence peddling and interference in the procurement of the security system. He was also accused of inflating the cost of the system from $3.2m (sh7.6b) to $5m (sh12b).

PAC last year investigated the expenditure on Chogm and faulted several ministers, including Mbabazi.

The investigations followed the Auditor General’s (AG)forensic audit of the expenditures that was directed by President Yoweri Museveni.

Parliament in March cleared ministers Mbabazi, former foreign Affairs minister Sam Kutesa and former vice-president Gilbert Bukenya.

The IGG, however, opened investigations against them and Bukenya was last week charged in the Anti-corruption court over the botched Chogm car deal. He denied the charge.

Mbabazi had argued that he only coordinated the security sector for Chogm and the actual procurement process was handled by technical officers of the respective ministries.

In the report released yesterday, the IGG cleared Mbabazi on the basis that he was not part of the team that evaluated the companies.

“His only role was to present the resolutions and recommendations of the security sub-committee to the Cabinet sub-committee of Chogm as per the findings,” said the report.

According to the IGG, Mbabazi is not a shareholder in any of the companies that supplied the security communication systems.

The report said Mbabazi only presented to the President the memo from the technical teams.

“The change to Tetra Motorola system was agreed on by the security sub-committee of Chogm and all the security organs in a meeting held at State House with approval of the President.”

As regards the allegation of influence peddling through Susan Katono, an alleged daughter to Mbabazi, investigations established that Katono is a distant relative of Mbabazi.

Katono was at that time working as a sales representative of Balton.

According to PAC, the procurement of the security communication system resulted in the loss of $1.8m (4.3b).

PAC based the loss on the previous quotation from Balton (U) Ltd of $3.2m (sh7.6b) as compared with the total payment of $5m (sh12b) to Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd, a Chinese firm.

The IGG found that there was no loss of funds with regards to this procurement.

It instead said Balton supplied more items than was indicated in the agreement and the communication system was in time for Chogm.

Investigations also found that the procurement procedures for the security communication system were in line with procurement laws and clearance was given by the then procurement authority boss, Edgar Agaba.

It said the procurement of the Tetra Communication System was also made after the loan had been approved by Cabinet and Parliament.

On the issue of not declaring the $5m (sh12b) for audit in the AG special audit of April, 2008, investigations established that the Auditor General only audited funds that were earmarked in the budget for Chogm.

The money, it said, came from the Chinese concessional loan and the AG submitted his audit on the national backbone infrastructure and e-government project that covered the $5m (sh12b)for security communication system.

The report notes that Mbabazi got involved in the process when the security committee made recommendations to the technical committee for his signature as the minister for security.

By then, the technical team had drawn specification of what was needed and identified some companies already.

The report also said Huawei was introduced in the process by the technical security team since it was already building the national backbone infrastructure, whose cost included that of the security system.

Though PAC said the Government could have used the UPDF Harris system, the IGG report says the system was found to be inadequate and could only be used as a back-up for fast deployment up-country and for UPDF use.


IGG clears Amama Mbabazi

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