MPs re-open probe into ID project

Sunday October 7 2012

By Mercy Nalugo

Parliament has re-opened investigations into the murky procurement of the Shs200 billion National Identity Cards deal following a petition from a group of 100 traders.

This, however, comes at a time when the Public Accounts Committee chairperson, Mr Kassiano Wadri, told Parliament his committee is stuck with a report on the same.

“We are stuck with the report and we do not know how to proceed,” said Mr Wadri. Mr Wadri told Parliament on Wednesday the same people Parliament recommended for sacking are the same people that must appear before PAC and the Defence committee.

Parliament on Wednesday forwarded the report to the parliamentary defence committee to investigate what is causing the project’s delay and why parliamentary resolutions were not implemented.

Three former ministers; Mr Kirunda Kivejinja (Internal Affairs), Mr Kiddhu Makubuya (Attorney General) and Mr Alintuma Nsambu (State Minister for ICT), were in August recommended for sanctioning following the defence committee investigation into the tendering of the controversial national Identity Cards project to a German company called Muhlbauer.

Flouted rules?
The former ministers reportedly flouted procurement laws but have not been punished yet the project has stalled. The project, which should have started two years ago, has been mired with controversy with government saying it does not have resources for it.


The Ministry of ICT and that of Internal Affairs are also fighting over control of the project. The traders, in the petition which was presented to Parliament by MP Mathias Kasamba (Kakuuto), said they are being harassed especially at the boarder simply because they cannot identify themselves as Ugandans.

The chief petitioner, Mr Godfrey Mitchinger Sseruwangi, said: “The government promised it will issue national IDs to Ugandans beginning with 5.2 million whose bio-data was captured in June 2010 by the Electoral Commission but there isn’t much progress,” reads the petition.

“The Shs200 billion project in the opinion of the Parliamentary Defence Committee was well conceived and they recommended that it must be supported to its logical conclusion but it is being derailed,” he added.

It is not known when Muhlbauer will produce the IDs but the government in May assured Ugandans that they will be ready by end of 2013.