Saturday February 8 2014

Minister chases his accountant from office



The minister of Public Service, Mr Henry Muganwa Kajura, has ordered the ministry’s principal accountant, Mr Steven Balisanyuka, out of office.

The Saturday Monitor learnt that Mr Kajura, who is also the second deputy prime minister, ordered acting permanent secretary Salome Nyamungu to kick out Mr Balisanyuka on allegations of corruption, abuse of fuel voucher cards and poor relations with fellow employees.

Mr Kajura was not readily available for comment by press time, but Mr Balisanyuka confirmed he had been locked out of office on the minister’s orders. “The minister instructed the PS [permanent secretary] that I should not be allowed in office or even the ministry’s premises. I reported the matter to the Accountant General in the Treasury, who told me there was no formal communication from the minister and I should go back to work,” Mr Balisanyuka said.

However, Ms Nyamungu advised Mr Balisanyuka to wait for the return of the Permanent Secretary, Adar Kabarokore, who is reportedly out of the country, to resolve his matter. Mr Balisanyuka added: “I joined this ministry in March 2013 from the Ministry of Health and on promotion. This was after all the pension scam had been uncovered, so I am not in any way involved in whatever happened.”

Insiders in the Treasury office intimated to Saturday Monitor yesterday that there was no formal complaint filed by the minister. They speculated the incident could be as a result of internal wrangling in the troubled ministry.

In 2012, the Auditor General uncovered financial rot in the Public Service Ministry where up to Shs165 billion was paid to ghost pensioners. Former Permanent Secretary Jimmy Lwamafa, principal accountant Christopher Obey, Commissioner Kiwanuka Kunsa and other officials were interdicted and put on trial on corruption charges.

About Shs155.7 billion was lost in payments to ghost pensioners; Shs9.5 billion in double payments to non-existent pensioners and Shs173.9 million in doubtful payments to foreign pensioners. The ministry has since been rocked by a series of corruption scandals.