By Max Patrico Ocaido
Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has blocked the proposed censure of Finance minister Matia Kasaija over alleged misappropriation of $200m (Shs720bn) PTA loan until the Auditor General (AG) carries out an independent investigation.
During her ruling on Wednesday, Kadaga said that there is need to involve AG to conduct a special audit on this loan before Parliament proceeds to debate on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report that pinned Kasaija and the Secretary to the Treasury Keith Muhakanizi for ‘duping’ Parliament and ‘fraudulently’ receiving the $200m (about Shs720bn) loan in guise of giving it to National Medical Stores (NMS) for procurement of medical supplies.
“I direct the Auditor General to carry out a special audit on the performance and neutralization of $200m loan from Parliament acquired from PTA bank and report to Parliament before February 20. We shall debate considering the Auditor General’s report together with PAC report and make resolutions. Therefore, I stay debate on this matter until February 28,” Kadaga ruled.
On Tuesday James Kakooza, Kabula County MP had pleaded with the House to stay debate on the PAC report until the Auditor General carries out his independent audit.
“I am worried that we may continue to debate on this report and make resolutions which could be overturned by the Auditor General’s report and we shall look like fools. So, I am of the view that we first wait for the Auditor General’s report so that it guides the House on the decisions to take,” Kakooza said on Tuesday.
However, Kakooza was silenced by Speaker Kadaga who ruled that the absentia of the AG’s report cannot deter Parliament from debating the report considering that their resolutions may wait to be implemented.
PAC chairperson Angelline Ossegge added that the House shall continue to debate the report and make resolutions since in their committee investigation, they interacted with the Auditor General, NMS, Finance ministry and Bank of Uganda before coming up with their recommendations.
The PAC report recommended for the censuring and firing of Kasaija and Muhakanizi respectively.