Ministers and other government officials implicated in corruption during the 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting should be arrested, prosecuted and face other disciplinary action, President Museveni has said.
President Museveni, citing threats by donors to slash aid, on March 11 directed Prime Minister Apolo Nsibambi to action against all thieving government employees and private service providers that the Auditor General, Mr John Muwanga, named to have fiddled with Chogm resources.
In the audit report, which forms the bedrock for the winding investigations by Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC), ministers and permanent secretaries are accused of inflating bills to enrich themselves, bypassing procurement rules and forcing through bad contracts.
In the letter copied to the Ombudsman and the Director of Public Prosecution, among others, President Museveni wondered why no action had been taken against those culpable yet the country is on the edge of losing support from nervy development partners.
“Whereas it is true that we made a number of policy decisions to expedite the preparations for Chogm, there was no reason why government officials should not have followed laid down procedures in implementing the decisions,” the letter reads in part.
The President has now ordered that contracts of accounting officers associated with the Chogm mess should not be renewed and efforts be made to fully recover finances disbursed to hotel owners or other private individuals who offered unsatisfactory services.
“(The) government’s lack of action on the (Auditor General’s) report is being perceived as if we are accomplices to the misdeed... I am, therefore, instructing you to cause disciplinary and any other action against officials who were found not to have followed financial and procurement rules and regulations as provided for in the Public Service Standing Orders as well as public financial management and procurement laws,” Mr Museveni wrote.
Prime Minister Nsibambi was not available for comment yesterday but DPP Richard Butera told this newspaper last night that his office is already secretly investigating “a number of cases” forwarded by PAC.
“Yes, we are making some progress but I can’t discuss the details until we finalise the ongoing investigations,” he said.
Mr Raphael Baku, the acting inspector general of government, said his officers are itching to prosecute the Chogm suspects once the Ministry of Finance avails their details.
He said: “The Ministry of Finance had given all accounting officers up to end of April 2010 to submit accountabilities for Chogm expenditures and once we get their report and outstanding areas, we shall take over from there.”
The ombudsman said they are also awaiting the PAC report to avoid duplication and waste of resources. All individuals and bureaucrats, including President Museveni and his vice Prof. Gilbert Bukenya, interviewed by the MP Nandala Mafabi-led Pac team have denied any wrong doing in organising the Shs500 billion summit graced by Queen Elizabeth of England.
In the aftermath of tough questioning in Parliament, various technocrats pointed accusing fingers at their political supervisors alleged to have used their executive clout to force down bad deals.