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Garang chopper insurance cash to repair State House

By Vision Reporter

Added 3rd May 2007 03:00 AM

PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has directed that the $3.3m (about sh6b) paid as compensation for the presidential helicopter that crushed killing South Sudan’s president Col. John Garang and 13 others in 2005, be used to repair State House, Entebbe.

PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has directed that the $3.3m (about sh6b) paid as compensation for the presidential helicopter that crushed killing South Sudan’s president Col. John Garang and 13 others in 2005, be used to repair State House, Entebbe.

By Mary Karugaba
PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has directed that the $3.3m (about sh6b) paid as compensation for the presidential helicopter that crushed killing South Sudan’s president Col. John Garang and 13 others in 2005, be used to repair State House, Entebbe.

The helicopter insurers, the National Insurance Corporation, paid the money to the finance ministry. The Queen of England and other guests are expected to stay at State House, Entebbe during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in November.

Beatrice Wabudeya, the minister for the Presidency, confirmed the transfer on Tuesday but said it was a normal practice. “The money was diverted to help in the reconstruction of State House Entebbe.

“We need it and I don’t think this is wrong. It’s normal,” she said. Richard Muhinda, the State House Comptroller, said the transfer was done after the China government which had offered to do repairs withdrew. He did not give reasons why the Chinese pulled out of the deal.

“The President advised that we use the chopper insurance compensation fund to keep it (the repair project) moving,” Muhinda explained. He said the purchase of a new helicopter was not the President’s priority this year. Muhinda dismissed press reports that State House was already shopping for a new presidential jet.

“The President’s priority this financial year is CHOGM, energy, Universal Primary Education and the Universal Secondary Education,” he said. MPs on the presidential affairs committee, Muhinda was put to task to explain why the Presidential Jet was not part of the finance ministry’s priority.

MP Winfred Kiiza called on Muhinda to resign if he cannot prioritise the Presidential Jet. “You should resign. Why are you putting the life of the President at risk? How can you fail to buy the night vision equipment for the Presidential Jet,” Kiiza asked.

Muhinda said the night vision equipment needs about $700,000 but the money was not provided in the current financial budget.

“I am also concerned about that (night vision) equipment because the President can’t travel in foggy areas. This is the problem of budget ceilings. We can’t freeze other areas,” he explained.

Garang chopper insurance cash to repair State House

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