President Museveni has fired three senior officials of State House in connection with the Basajja scam.
By Joyce Namutebi
President Yoweri Museveni has fired three senior officials of State House in connection with the Hassan Basajjabalaba scam.
The three are head of legal department, Joy Kabatsi, the Private Secretary to the President in charge of economic affairs, Edward Muhoozi and Geoffrey Atwine.
The Presidential Press Secretary, Tamale Mirundi revealed on Sunday that three State House departments namely legal, economic and the secretariat were under investigation.
"There is a big investigative exercise going on and the three departments are targeted," he said.
The economic department is where issues concerning investors and other economic issues are handled while the legal department handles issues such as those to do with land and compensation, he explained.
And the Secretariat, Mirundi said, is where letters are typed.
The three officers were implicated in the controversial compensation to city tycoon Hassan Basajjabalaba's Haba Group of companies, a transaction which was a subject of investigation by the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
President Museveni, while meeting PAC in December, ordered the officials to appear before the committee to explain themselves.
During the interface, he revealed to lawmakers that three officials in his office including Kabatsi were being investigated by Police to establish whether "they could have been working for Basajjabalaba as internal collaborators in his office."
The three, he said, wrote letters behind his back that were used to facilitate payments to the city tycoon.
Both Kabatsi and Muhoozi were quizzed by the committee on the letters they wrote. Muhoozi admitted to have errored in a letter he drafted for signing by the President to the governor Bank of Uganda on compensation of Haba Group.
"I erred in writing this letter. I did know that this letter could make the governor effect payment of that magnitude," he said.
Explaining the procedure, Kabasti explained that the Principal Private Secretary to the President should read the letters drafted by the State House officials as the final person, before they are passed on to the President.
After listening to their defence, PAC handed the two officials over to CID for further questioning.
Since then, former Attorney General, Khiddu Makubuya and the then Minister of Finance, Syda Bbumba who were at the centre of the controversy in the saga announced their resignation from Cabinet.
The fate of the governor Bank of Uganda, Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile, who effected payment, is yet to be decided by the President.
State House fires staff over Basajja saga