President Yoweri Museveni’s name has popped up in the 4.7 billion shillings botched LC Bicycles procurement process.
A confidential loose minute communication dated 01st February 2011, quotes John Kashaka Muhanguzi, the Local Government ministry Permanent Secretary, accusing the Principal Accountant, Henry Bamutura of frustrating the speedy execution of the letter of credit.
In the letter, Kashaka is quoted telling Bamutura that “if you had guided the process meticulously, especially knowing that the supply of bicycles for which the Letter of Credit was being applied was politically sensitive and H.E. the President had committed himself to timeliness of delivery, the delay for a whole month would have been avoided.”
“You know doubt knew the pressure we were subjected to by the political leadership to deliver the bicycles and the disappointment that this has caused, thanks to your dilly-dallying”, Kashaka says in the letter, a copy of which Uganda Radio Network has seen.
The two page letter which also served as a warning to the Principal Accountant cites instances where PS Kashaka sought to get clearance for funds from the Accountant General to Bank of Uganda, in just one day of the application reaching the Accountant General’s desk.
Kashaka warned Bamutura of serious consequences if he continued delaying to take action on the process of the bicycle purchase.
The parliamentary committee investing the botched deal, have refused to comment on the letter, saying that the Permanent Secretary will respond specifically to it on Monday.
Shadow Local Government minister and a member of the investigating committee, Betty Nambooze, said they want an explanation from Kashaka on where the political pressure came from. She said they would comment only after Kashaka’s explanation.
The Chairperson of the committee and woman MP for Kulungu, Florence Kintu, was reportedly ill and could not be reached for a comment on the letter. Her deputy, Raphael Magyezi said they would meet the PS and ask him to clarify the political pressure he referred to.
Museveni’s Press Secretary, Tamale Mirundi, was not available to comment on the contents of the president’s letter since he could not pick up his calls.
The committee suspects that such pressures were the main reasons that led the ministry officials to by-pass regulations; leading to the loss of the money after all procedures seemed suspiciously rushed.
According to documents accessed by Uganda Radio Network, Bamutura in a response to his boss Kashaka three days later on 4th February 2011, said he was aware of the political pressures put on them and promised not to make the same errors again.
Bamutura wrote telling the PS that even if he apologized for the delay, he conducted his duties in line with the Treasury Accounting Regulations and Instructions.
The local government officials will re-appear before the committee from Monday.
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