Special Cabinet meet skips iron sheets saga

Montage (L-R): Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja, 1st Deputy PM and Minister for East African Affairs Rebecca Kadaga, and 3rd Deputy Prime Minister Rukia Isanga Nakadama and Finance minister Matia Kasaija. PHOTOS | FILE

What you need to know:

  • During the speech at Kololo, Mr Museveni opted not to discuss the theft of iron sheets that had been procured with emergency funds and instead focused on the Parish Development Model (PDM). He also touched on the issue of homosexuality.

A special meeting of the Cabinet convened by the President last Friday steered clear of any discussions about the ongoing Karamoja iron sheets scandal.
A Cabinet source told this publication that instead of discussing the scandal that has sucked in Vice President Jessica Alupo, Prime Minister Robinah Nabajja, her deputies Rebecca Kadaga and Ms Rukia Isanga Nakadama and other senior members of Cabinet such as Finance Minister Matia Kasaija, the Cabinet chose to adopt a motion calling for a special session to discuss corruption.

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The Minister for Information, Communication, Technology and National Guidance, Dr Chris Baryomunsi, confirmed the development.
“Cabinet agreed that we shall have a special sitting dedicated to discussing corruption, especially this matter of strategies to fight corruption,” he said.
The decision was arrived at during the special cabinet meeting at State House, Entebbe, a day after President Museveni addressed Members of Parliament (MPs) on “matters of national importance” in line with the provisions of the provisions of Article 101(2) of the Constitution. 
Article 101(2) provides for the President to from time to time address Parliament on any matters of national importance.
However, there are conflicting accounts around the circumstances under which Cabinet arrived at the decision to hold a special meeting that will focus on the subject of corruption.

HERE: Museveni orders criminal inquiry into iron sheet saga
A cabinet source told the Monitor that a motion to amend the agenda to incorporate a discussion on the matter of corruption was precipitated by events in Kololo Independence grounds the day before, where President Museveni chose to sidestep the ongoing incidents around theft and mismanagement of iron sheets and other relief items meant for the vulnerable people of Karamoja.
During the speech at Kololo, Mr Museveni opted not to discuss the theft of iron sheets that had been procured with emergency funds and instead focused on the Parish Development Model (PDM). He also touched on the issue of homosexuality.
The speech, however, elicited murmurs of disgruntlement from MPs, many of whom, just like members of the public, had expected him to give ministers implicated in the scandal a tongue lashing.
“The MPs had expressed their concerns about the President’s speech. Some of us felt a need to have a candid discussion about that matter,” the cabinet source said.

The Cabinet source claimed that the subject was, however, shot down by sections of the Cabinet on the pretext that there was no time to discuss the subject, but Dr Baryomunsi dismissed that account, saying the agenda of the meeting was never amended to include discussions on the iron sheets scandal.
Minister Baryomunsi said the matter of corruption came up for discussion after Ms Rose Lilly Akello, the Minister of State for Ethics and Integrity, presented a paper on strategies for fighting corruption. Discussions were, however, deferred on account of lack of time, he said.
“The Minister of Ethics and Integrity presented a paper on fighting corruption. Given that it was late in the evening, we agreed that since the subject matter is so important, we shall have a dedicated cabinet meeting to discuss corruption,” Dr Baryomunsi said.
It was not possible to engage Ms Akello about the contents of her paper, but other Cabinet sources told Daily Monitor that the paper lists new strategies that the government has come up with to fight corruption.

No cabinet discussion
Dr Baryomunsi insisted that the iron sheets scandal will not be discussed by cabinet as it is already the subject of an investigation by several investigative arms of government.
“There is nothing to discuss in cabinet or anywhere. The iron sheets issue is being investigated, so we do not have to discuss it. The police and the IGG (inspectorate of government) are investigating. The law will take its course,” he said.
President Museveni, who reportedly wants those found culpable to be prosecuted, recently ordered a team of investigators from the Police, State House Anti-Corruption Unit (SHACU) and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP), to investigate the circumstances under which ministers and other political leaders accessed the iron sheets. 
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