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Govt rotates corrupt officials, says Lokodo

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Ethics minister Simon Lokodo says the corrupt are covered up by ‘god fathers”.  

By CHRIS OBORE

Posted  Sunday, August 31   2014 at  01:00

In Summary

Accusations. The Ethics minister claims corrupt bureaucrats are privileged to determine which ministry or government agency they want to work in.

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KAMPALA.
Most corrupt officials in government are usually rotated in “juicy” ministries with the help of “god fathers”, Ethics minister Simon Lokodo has said.
The Rev Fr Lokodo said the corrupt bureaucrats are also privileged to determine which ministry or government agency they want to work in.

The revelation comes on the heels of the interdiction of a senior official in the Ministry of Health on account of corruption.
Mr Frank Mugisha Kashaka, the principal procurement officer, was interdicted on Monday by Secretary to the Treasury, Mr Keith Muhakanizi.

Fr Lokodo claims Mr Mugisha is a beneficiary of rotational transfers and godfatherism.
Mr Mugisha’s interdiction follows President Museveni’s directive that Mr Mugisha be sent home for reportedly asking for a bribe from an Italian investor.

According to an earlier statement from State House, Mr Enrica M Pinetti, the chairman of Finasi Company that provides healthcare facilities, projects and supplies, accused Mr Mugisha of asking for a bribe of 20 per cent of the total project he was handling in order to finalise the procurement process.

“Reference is made to the proceedings of the meeting that was held in State House on August 21, 2014 which was chaired by H.E. the President and also attended by you,” reads Mr Muhakanizi’s letter.
“The meeting was informed by an investor that you demanded for a bribe from them to enable you perform your normal duties… You are therefore immediately sent on interdiction and should stay out of office as administrative internal investigations are being carried out.”

Mr Muhakanizi also asked Mr Mugisha to defend himself by September 12 and to also explain circumstances under which he was earlier dismissed from State House.

Mugisha’s woes
Sunday Monitor understands that Health minister Ruhakana Rugunda and the Permanent Secretary Asuman Lukwago, in a meeting with the President, raised similar sentiments that they had received separate allegations about Mr Mugisha’s demand for bribes from suppliers before sanctioning their contracts.
Sunday Monitor sought Mr Mugisha’s comment on these allegations but he could not be reached.

Mr Mugisha’s woes are not new. Last year, minister Lokodo petitioned the Inspector General of Government (IGG), protesting the transfer of Mr Mugisha to head procurement at the Health ministry.

Mr Lokodo accused the Finance ministry top bureaucrats, whose docket is to supervise government procurements, of forcing the Health ministry to take Mr Mugisha.
Mr Muhakanizi, however, said there is now a renewed effort to fight graft and that civil servants were safer treading carefully. “We have to safeguard public funds, otherwise we will not have jobs,” he said.
Fr Lokodo wrote: “For some time now, the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development has been trying to post Mr Mugisha Frank Kashaka… to different ministries but without success.”

“Since May 2013, they have been trying to change his deployment from Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development to Ministry of Health. The Ministry of Health has been resisting the coming in of this officer but the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development has not budged. My colleague, the Minister of Health, has been forced to come in and consult me on the matter,” Fr Lokodo added.

Mr Mugisha, according to Mr Lokodo, “is an arrogant, aggressive and corrupt officer who has performed badly in Government Ministries/Departments/Agencies (MDAs) where he has been”.
He alleged that ministries, who knew of Mr Mugisha’s financially questionable conduct, had been declining to work with him.
“Because of the very complex and expensive nature of procurement in the Ministry of Health, there is suspicion that the godfathers of Mr Mugisha want him to get in there for exploitive reasons,” reads Mr Lokodo’s letter.

Mr Lokodo asked the IGG to investigate Mr Mugisha’s work at Butabika Hospital, State House, Ministry of Information and Ministry of Agriculture.
“Bad or corrupt officials should not be moved around MDAs to spread the malaise. They should not be allowed to choose and negotiate where to be posted for their selfish ends,” Mr Lokodo said, adding that such officials should instead be punished if not rehabilitated.

“Mr Mugisha has been rejected in a number of MDAs and his mother ministry keeps moving him around to find unsuspecting big MDAs where to place him according to his choice,” Mr Lokodo said.
He asked the IGG to block Mr Mugisha’s transfer to the Health ministry but it appears his efforts fell flat. In order to takeover procurement at Health ministry, Mr Lokodo says Mr Mugisha visited the ministry and threatened the incumbent procurement officer one Mr Erukwaine.

cobore@ug.nationmedia.com