The Public Service ministry had to withdraw its 2014/15 budget estimates amid a row with former vice president Gilbert Bukenya who insists he has not received Shs500 million in benefits, contrary to what the ministry claims.
State minister for Public Service Sezi Mbaguta yesterday told the Parliament’s Public Service and Local Government Committee that the ministry has so far paid Shs500 million to the former VP, a payment she could not back with vouchers.
Rukungiri Municipality MP Roland Mugume Kaginda and Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze brought the plight of former leaders to the attention of the Committee, saying Mr Bukenya’s predicament does not augur well for the country and the man who once occupied the country’s second top job.
“What we want from you is evidence that you are paying the former VP. Such people are being victimised because they have a divergent view. He drives a Toyota premio,” Mr Kaginda said. Ms Nambooze demanded to know whether the family of former president Edward Muteesa was receiving the benefits.
“We were asked the same question about the benefits in Parliament. The only benefits we are not being able to pay is the housing because there have been no budgetary provisions. We have evidence that actually we have paid him [Bukenya] more than Shs500 million in the benefits and we will provide it,” Ms Mbaguta said.
When Ms Mbaguta and her team led by the Permanent Secretary, Ms Adah Muwanga, failed to furnish the committee with the evidence, they admitted there might be inaccuracies with their policy statement and thus withdrew it.
At Parliament, Mr Bukenya later told journalists that he only started receiving about Shs4 million a year ago, explaining that it is only possible he has received about Shs48 million and accused the government and the ministry of lying.
“If we don’t stop lying, this country is going to the devil. I do not want their money but the government must speak the truth. Was that Shs500 million paid in cash or to the bank? Which bank was it paid to? Mr Bukenya asked.
Mr Bukenya was sacked as VP in 2011, and was later charged with abuse of office and sent to Luzira.
He has since threatened to give President Museveni a run for his money in the 2016 presidential elections.
About bukenya and his benefits
As former vice president, Mr Bukenya is entitled to pension, a fully furnished house, fuel allowance, medical allowance, security guards and cash to cater for utility bills. However, the Busiro North MP insists government has denied him all his benefits. Mr Bukenya was sacked as VP in 2011, charged with abuse of office and sent to Luzira. He has since threatened stand for President in the 2016 elections.