Minister Kasaija Faces Disciplinary Action for Snubbing Parliament

 
 
 

KAMPALA

Finance minister Matia Kasaija faces disciplinary action for his refusal to appear before parliament committees when summoned.

Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga on Thursday referred Kasaija to parliament's committee on Rules, Discipline and Privileges following an intermediary report by parliament's Public Accounts Committee currently inquiring into the 200-million-dollar loan government secured from the Preferential Trade Are-PTA Bank.

The Ministry of Finance is in particular on the spot over failure to release the said loan to the rightful beneficiaries even when money was disbursed by PTA Bank. The National Medical Stores NMS) needs 156 billion shillings from the loan to purchase drugs.

The money was also meant to finance a shortfall in domestic revenue that was projected at 288 billion Shillings for 2015/2016 financial year and substitute domestic borrowing to the tune of Shillings 280 billion. It was also meant to ease finance expenditure pressure resulting from the exchange rate depreciation in the 2015/2016 financial year.

However, to date the Ministry has failed to release the Shillings 156 billion meant for NMS. Recently, NMS announced a shortfall of Shillings 68 billion citing fluctuation in foreign exchange since 2011, which has affected medical supplies to government health facilities.

Following these developments, Parliament's Public Accounts Committee has since picked interest in the PTA loan, carrying out interfaces with officials from the finance ministry, NMS, Bank of Uganda and Ministry of Health.

But according to Angelline Osegge, the Public Accounts Committee Chairperson, they have tried to invite Minister Matia Kasaija in vain.

In an intermediary committee report to parliament on Thursday, Osegge noted that she personally made a call to Kasaija in an attempt to discuss a way forward but that the minister reportedly said that he would not appear before PAC before hanging up.

Osegge noted that her committee shall not allow anybody to abuse or denigrate its work or members.

"The committee is firmly proceeding with the inquiry and if necessary, shall invoke the High Court powers as enshrined in Article 90 (3c) of the Constitution to enforce attendance of the minister." said Osegge.

She added that her committee has consistently observed what she called the impunity and arrogance of the minister and officials from the finance ministry when addressing parliament in an abusive manner.

Following Osegge's submission, Kenneth Lubogo, the chairperson of the Trade Committee also reported to parliament that Minister Kasaija is poor at attending parliament committees. He reported to parliament a day when Kasaija played hide and seek with his committee until the meeting was suspended.

With these submissions, Kadaga referred Kasaija, also Buyanja County MP, to parliament's Rules, Discipline and Privileges committee for discipline.

 
 

Police Yet to Link Byamukama to Kaweesi Murder

 
 
 

KAMPALA

Investigating officers are yet to make headway in linking Kamwenge Mayor Geoffrey Byamukama to the March 17 murder of three police officers including Assistant Inspector General of police (AIGP) Andrew Felix Kaweesi.

Byamukama is alleged to have procured the hit men that gunned down the then police spokesperson, his bodyguard Kenneth Erau and driver Godfrey Mambewa in Kulambiro a Kampala suburb.

PRIME RADIO has learnt that operatives of the Flying Squad, a special unit of the Uganda Police Force, a week ago interrogated Byamukama for the third time since his arrest on April 5, 2017, almost three weeks after Kaweesi's shooting.

In all three interrogations, however, Byamukama reportedly denied all allegations levied against him as well as his association to the assassins that murdered Kaweesi and his two handlers.

One of the lead investigators who preferred anonymity says the reason that Byamukama is yet to be charged is because they are yet to identify his motive in killing Kaweesi.

For a murder charge to hold there must be motive aforethought and the suspect must have the means.

"We don't have any evidence of intent. We suspect that Byamukama was also working for someone else but this is suspicion until we have evidence indicating so," the investigator says.

According to the source, Byamukama was implicated by two suspects who reportedly confessed in their statements to have helped the mayor identify four hit men.

The suspects, Hassan Tumusiime and Abubaker Ntende, have since been charged in court for the murder and terrorism.

According to a reliable source who has been part of the investigations, Tumusiime and Ntende told operatives of Flying Squad that they were approached by the mayor who wanted people who can carry out an assassination.

"They told us that Byamukama asked them to help him look out for expert hit men who can execute a job for him," the source who preferred anonymity told PRIME RADIO. In statements recorded by the suspects at the now controversial Nalufenya police facility, they indicate that they officially introduced four people to the mayor who include Aramazan Noor din Higenyi the only one arrested among the four suspected assassins.

"Byamukama even took us to Kulambiro and showed us where he wanted the work done from. I did not know that the person he wanted gunned down would be Kaweesi," reads Ntende's statement recorded on April 12th 2017 in part.

Police investigations also found telephone call records indicating constant communication between Ntende and the mayor as well as call exchanges between the mayor and Higenyi.

The police spokesperson Asan Kasingye refused to comment on the Kaweesi murder investigations on grounds that the case is already in court.

Byamukama was arrested on April 5 after the call print-out of Higenyi, the suspected hit man showed constant communication between them a few days before the murder of Kaweesi. Photographs of the mayor with wounds all over his body were published in the media putting police on the spot for torture. Several other suspects also accused police of torture forcing parliament to send a team of legislators to Nalufenya to verify the claims.

Just over a week ago, General Kale Kayihura, the Inspector General of Police issued a public apology admitting that operatives at Nalufenya had, indeed, acted outside the law.

Police has since the murder of Kaweesi arrested more than 43 suspects, 24 of whom have since been arraigned in court on charges ranging from murder, conspiracy to murder, aggravated robbery and terrorism.

 
 

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