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Rev Muranga detained over Shs40b Banana Project scam

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Rev Muranga (L) being held at Parliament after

Rev Muranga (L) being held at Parliament after failing to account for Shs40 billion before the Public Accounts committee yesterday. She was later set free. Photo by Geoffrey Sseruyange  

By Yasiin Mugerwa

Posted  Monday, February 17   2014 at  14:50

In Summary

Rev Florence Muranga who refused to take oath using the Bible told PAC members, “I am ready to go to prison, I don’t care”.

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Parliament- There was drama at Parliament when members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) ordered the arrest of the head of Presidential initiative on Banana Industrial Development, the Rev Florence Muranga, whom they accused of mismanaging a multi-billion anti-poverty project.

Trouble started after the Rev Muranga, who is accused of mismanaging more than Shs40 billion, refused to take oath with the bible and instead walked away on the committee.
When the out-going PAC chairperson, Mr Kassiano Wadri, insisted the Rev Muranga is put to oath, she said: “I rather lose my job than touch the Bible,” a book she said she respects so much.

“I rather go to prison; I respect my Lord so much that I cannot swear with the bible. I will be taking a risk,” she said yesterday.

After failing to explain why the banana project started without a feasibility study and to account for funds injected in it, Mr Wadri asked the Rev Muranga to “shame the devil” and tell the truth.

“The amount of money involved in this banana project would have run districts, the amounts are not small yet the project has a lot of flaws,” Mr Wadri said, adding, “Even if it requires us to wring our faces, we will do so, but Rev Muranga must answer the questions on this project. This is not a joking matter.”

Realising the Rev Muranga was determined not to take oath, Mr Wadri told her what she was doing was criminal, it’s contempt of parliament and her answers were suspicious and the only way to prove that she was telling the truth was for her to take oath.

Mr Wadri also reminded her that even if she ceases to hold office, she has to account for public funds.

In attempting to elude the swearing bit, Rev Muranga first begged the committee to allow her explain the Auditor General’s queries without necessarily taking the oath since she took one last year when she appeared before PAC.

However, Mr Wadri told her, “that was last year” and that the oath she took expired after which Rev Muranga stood up saying her Lord is bigger than the job.
Mr Wadri then asked the Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Directorate (CIID) detectives attached to PAC to take a statement from her.

The Daily Monitor understands that Rev Muranga recorded a statement and was later set free.

ymugerwa@ug.nationmedia.com