Thursday February 16 2012

Ministers Bbumba, Makubuya resign

Ministers Kiddu Makubuya and Syda Bbumba. Photos by Geoffrey Sseruyange.

Ministers Kiddu Makubuya and Syda Bbumba. Photos by Geoffrey Sseruyange. 

By Sheila Naturinda

Gen Moses Ali, the stand in leader of Government business has announced before Parliament that Gender Minister, Syda Bbumba, and Minister of General Duties in the Prime Minister’s office, Khiddu Makubuya, have resigned their positions.

The two were accused of causing financial loss to the taxpayer and abuse of office. In an unusual move, MPs from the ruling party turned against the duo and asked the President to relieve them of their duties for allegedly inflating compensation paid to city businessman, Hassan Basajjabalaba, and Col (rtd) John Mugyenyi.

Mr Basajjabalaba claims he lost business for 11 years after the government, on the instructions of the President, cancelled his tenders to run Nakasero, Shauriyako and St. Balikuddembe (Owino) markets and the Constitution Square.

Bbumba, former finance minister and Makubuya, former Attorney General, are accused of authorizing an inflated payment of Sh169b to Hassan Basajjabalaba as compensation for losing the tenders. He was subsequently paid Shs 142.6b.
Col John Mugyenyi’s Rhino Investments Ltd was paid Shs 14.9bn.

Before the verification exercise to compensate Basajjabalaba and Mugenyi by the Auditor General was concluded, Bank of Uganda, upon a request from Ms Bbumba, issued guarantees to various banks. The guarantees enabled Mr Basajjabalaba access $65.35 million (about Shs160 billion) in anticipation of government settlement of the claims to Haba Group.

Bank of Uganda had on June 15, 2010, upon request by Ms Bbumba, written to four banks asking them to offer credit facilities to Haba Group of Companies. Consequently, on November 22, 2010, Prof. Makubuya in an internal memo to the Solicitor General approved the payment of Shs142.6b to Mr Basajjabalaba.

On July 30, 2008, President Museveni wrote to Prof Makubuya directing him to examine the legality of the claims and advise him as soon as possible but the then Attorney General did not respond to the directive. The President directed him to chair the Inter-Ministerial Committee to handle Basajjabalaba’s claims but this was not done.

Mr Makubuya was subsequently blamed for ignoring the Presidential directive.