Vetting: Why MPs blocked Kaboyo, cleared Muhwezi

Friday June 18 2021
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Ms Alice Kaboyo

By ESTHER OLUKA
By Arthur Arnold Wadero

The Appointments Committee of Parilament yesterday did not approve Ms Alice Kaboyo as the State Minister for Luweero Triangle-Rwenzori Region during a vetting exercise.

The committee, which was chaired by the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Ms Anita Among, met Ms Kaboyo, the former State House aide, behind closed doors and rejected her on account of her role in the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunisation (Gavi) scandal.

Sources, who attended the Appointments Committee meeting told Daily Monitor yesterday that MPs rejected Ms Kaboyo’s appointment based on the 2012 incident when the Anti-Corruption Court convicted her and she pleaded guilty to some of the counts in the Gavi case.

The counts included abuse of office and writing documents in the name of Ms Amelia Kyambadde, the former Private Principal Secretary to the President.

“She failed to defend herself when asked about the corruption scandal. She got so emotional when pushed and pressed on the issue,” one source said.

There was clear evidence to pin her (during the proceedings), the source emphasised.

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Back in 2012, Ms Kaboyo was sentenced to either a fine of Shs20 million or serve an eight-year prison sentence. She opted to pay the fine.

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Maj Gen (Rtd) Jim Muhwezi. Courtesy PHOTO.

She was co-accused with the former Health Minister, Maj Gen (Rtd) Jim Muhwezi, and his then deputies Capt. Mike Mukula (now the National Resistance Movement (NRM) vice-chairman for Eastern region) and Dr Alex Kamugisha.

The trio was accused of misappropriating billions of shillings meant for immunisation and vaccines.

On Monday, during the vetting of Maj Gen Muhwezi as Security minister, the matter came up.

Another source said when Maj Gen Muhwezi was asked “You are here (yet) you already have issues”, he responded, saying: “But you people, with me, I was (previously) wrongly charged. I was innocent and wrongly punished for something I did not do.”

Maj Gen Muhwezi later challenged the committee to bring out evidence proving his innocence. 

“How do you say I was guilty when there are other (s) who have clear evidence to pin them?” 

The committee is said to have remained silent before approving him.

Maj Gen Muhwezi and Dr Kamugisha were both acquitted (still in 2012) by Chief Magistrate Irene Akankwasa over charges of causing financial loss, abuse of office and embezzlement, citing no implicating evidence.

Capt Mukula, on the other hand, was asked to defend himself by explaining the whereabouts of Shs210 million he received from the Gavi account, funds that were intended for implementing programmes for women and youth in the Office of the First Lady.

He was convicted and sentenced to four years in jail for embezzling the funds, but later appealed and his conviction was overturned.

The Appointments Committee also approved former Forum Democratic Change (FDC) stalwart, Ms Joyce Nabbosa Ssebugwawo, as the State Minister for Information, Communication, Technology and National Guidance.

Shortly after the vetting, Ms Ssebugwawo told Daily Monitor that she was ready to serve.

When asked if she quit FDC, Ms Ssebugwawo said: “I can’t answer that right now until I get an official communication from that party.”

“In that party, I was serving people but here [in the NRM], I am going to serve more people,” she added.

Other rejections

Ms Alice Kaboyo is not the first Minister to be rejected by the Appointments Committee. In 2016, the appointment of Mr Adrian Tibaleka was not approved after failing to convince MPs that she qualified to be a minister. In 2012, the late Nasser Ssebaggala was rejected as a Minister without Portfolio on grounds that he was an ex-convict.

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