Parliament’s committee on Defence and Internal Affairs has recommended that the former minister of Internal Affairs, Ali Kirunda Kivejinja, and the ministry’s permanent secretary, Stephen Kagoda, be held liable for violating procurement laws to sign a contract for the stalled national identity card project.
The committee’s report, tabled in Parliament yesterday, also pins former Attorney General Khiddu Makubuya, and former junior ICT minister Alintuma Nsambu. The report follows an investigation into the procurement of the national security information system equipment.
In 2010, a German company, Muhlbauer, was selectively contracted, at 64 million Euros, to produce national IDs. The project, however, stalled, prompting Parliament to sound the alarm bell.
According to the report, expected to be debated this afternoon, the lawmakers observed that the Internal Affairs ministry used presidential guidance to procure the equipment as a single source. This, the committee added, was against the laid out procedure in the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act.
“Although the ministry presented the letters from H.E the president dated April 2, 2009 and February 13, 2010…for selecting Muhlbauer, the committee did not find evidence of a presidential directive for single sourcing,” reads part of the report.
The lawmakers also observed that procurement rules were violated as stipulated in the PPDA Act. According to section 42 of the PPDA act, the Defence and National Security organs are compelled to comply with the procurement procedures. The committee further noted that although these organs have a classified expenditure, they have to get clearance from PPDA, which they did not do.
The committee also observed that the rushing of the contract made the ministry toy with borrowing of the funds from Bank of Uganda at the interest rate of 8%, which currently stands at a Shs 3.2bn loss. Besides, the committee noted that the negotiation of the contract in Euros will have taxpayers losing Shs 7.7bn in exchange rates fluctuations. A further Shs 8.8bn will be lost in form of applicable taxes to Uganda Revenue Authority.
Considering the findings that the contract has not only delayed better results to the taxpayers as well as led to a loss of more than Shs 19.5bn due to wasteful expenditures, the committee wants the responsible officers to be held accountable
“The accounting officer [Kagoda] should, in line with section 26 of the PPDA Act, take full responsibility for the anomalies in the conduct of the procurement process,” reads part of the report.
Accordingly, the lawmakers want Kagoda to suffer the administrative and financial consequences. The committee also wants Kivejinja, who acted as the overall supervisor of the project, to take the political, financial and administrative responsibility for the anomalies and losses occasioned and observed in the conduct of the procurement of the project.
Further, the committee wants Makubuya to be held responsible for sanctioning the project without paying due diligence as legal advisor. The committee also recommends that Nsambu be investigated over allegations that Muhlbauer funded his trip to Germany.
Although the committee investigated the former minister for finance planning and economic development, Syda Bbumba, together with Bank of Uganda Governor Tumusiime Mutebile, there wasn’t sufficient evidence to find the duo culpable.
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