MPs Want Implicated Officials to Refund ID Project Money

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In short
Members of Parliament want former ministers and other government officials implicated in the now controversial national Identity Card project to refund the money. This comes on the second day of debate on the report that was tabled on Tuesday by the vice chairman of the Defense and Internal Affairs Committee, Simon Mulongo.

Members of Parliament want former ministers and other government officials implicated in the now controversial national Identity Card project to refund the money.
 
This comes on the second day of debate on the report that was tabled on Tuesday by the vice chairman of the Defense and Internal Affairs Committee, Simon Mulongo.
 
According to the 40-page report, there was no compliance with the procurement law, the PPDA Act, in the award of the contract to a German firm. In 2010, Mühlbauer, a German Company was contracted to produce national identity cards at a cost of 64 million Euros, approximately 200 billion shillings. But to date, the identity cards project is yet to take off.
 
The report holds former ministers Kirunda Kivejinja for Internal Affairs, Alintuma Nsambu for Information and Communication Technology and former Attorney General Kiddu Makubuya liable for violating procurement laws to sign a contract for the now stalled project. Also implicated is Stephen Kagoda, the permanent secretary in the ministry of internal affairs.

During the plenary debate on Thursday, some legislators said the officials should be arrested and prosecuted, while others said their property should be attached to recover the money.

Florence Ibi Ekwau, Kaberamaido Woman MP argued that there is need to have a system which bars an implicated official from holding any public office. She said there are names that appear in almost all scandals but are left to continue holding public office.

Peter Ogwang, the Eastern Region Youth MP, was disappointed at how PS Kagoda ignored the advice of the PPDA on competitive bidding. She wants Kagoda interdicted.

Kyadondo East MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda said the House has been prescribing the wrong medicine for the problem. He claimed that scandals begin from the president who then turns around to say that he was wrongly advised by the technical team. Ssemujju noted that it is time to know who benefits from the numerous scandals that have consumed about ten cabinet ministers from their offices. He said it is not enough to just make the ministers resign.

Godfrey Lubega, MP for Kasanda North in Mubende district, is of the view that NRM should withdraw the candidature of Alintuma Nsambu from the Bukoto South parliamentary by-elections until he is cleared.

The report implicated Nsambu for travelling with a technical team to Germany using state funds under unclear circumstances. The trip was to verify and assess the capacity of Mühlbauer Company. The report recommended that he be investigated to establish the business interest he had in the ID project.

Other MPs like Sara Kayagi, the Manafwa MP and Judith Mary Amoit, the Pallisa Woman MP, want the money refunded saying it would be prudent that government follows up the implicated officials and confiscates their property in order to recover the lost funds.

While reading her budget speech for 2012/13 financial year, finance minister Maria Kiwanuka announced that the public shall cost-share on the national Identification Cards. But some legislators think that it is a selfish move by government.

Alice Alaso, the Serere Woman MP and Jack Wamanga Wamai for Mbale Municipality, said it is an embarrassment that the country has no national Identification and is asking the citizens to share the cost. They demanded that government explains why the sharing when the tax payer has already paid about 200 billion shillings for the same IDs.

The executive has still not weighed in even after requesting for more time to review the report. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi tried unsuccessfully to block the debate, arguing that government needed more time to study the report.

 

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