PAC to Meet Museveni Over Payment to Ex-fighters

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In short
Members of Parliament on the Public Accounts Committee PAC today resolved to meet President Yoweri Museveni over the 6.1 billion Shillings payment to ex-combatants, veterans and Resistance Council officials.

Members of Parliament on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) today resolved to meet President Yoweri Museveni over the 6.1 billion Shillings payment to ex-combatants, veterans and Resistance Council officials.
 
The payments were made under the gratuity scheme that was dubbed the 'Akasimo project'.
 
Under this scheme, the Resistance Council (RC) members were envisaged to receive five million shillings each, while National Resistance Army (NRA) historicals were to receive 10 million each. Civilian ex-combatants were to get 1.5 million shillings each.
 
The decision to meet the president was made after officials from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) failed to answer queries raised in the 2014/2015 Auditor General's report regarding the payment.
 
In the report, Auditor General John Muwanga noted that 6.1 billion Shillings was transferred to the beneficiaries but neither the committee responsible nor OPM has a database of those who have been paid or not paid since the start of the project.
 
"The ministry may lose funds given cases of duplication and inclusion of non-entitled ex-combatants," said Muwanga in his report.
 
The OPM had earlier requested for seven billion shillings for the 'Akasimo project'. This was targeting the Rwenzori sub region that was ravaged by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebellion and the Luweero Triangle which was the centre of the 1981 to 1986 bush war.
 
Finance ministry instead provided 6.1 billion that officials from the Office of the Prime Minister failed to account for while appearing before PAC chaired by Soroti woman MP Angelline Osegge. The officials from OPM were led by the Permanent Secretary Christine Guwatudde.
 
The auditor general faulted OPM for carrying out payments of 6.1 billion to 44,985 ex-combatants from 50 districts, but failing to provide a comprehensive database of who was paid, how much and the remaining money.
 
Steven Kyaterekera, the Principal Assistant in charge of Luweero Triangle- Rwenzori Development Programme, failed to answer queries in the audit general's report.
 
He admitted he does not have the estimate of the Resistance Council (RC) leaders who allegedly benefited from five million Shillings each.
 
Kyaterekera also admitted that he is not familiar with the breakdown of the ex-combatants who benefited from the payment.
 
The committee lead counsel, Masaka Municipality MP Mathias Mpuuga, said that the money could have been used to fund elections for the ruling party candidates.
 
Kyaterekera explained to the committee that the project started in the financial year 2008/2009 as an appreciation for the effort of the civilian fighters. He said that these fighters know each other and some are heirs of the fighters.
 
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PAC however rejected Kyaterekera's explanations and ruled that they will convene a meeting with the president since he is the brainchild of compensations to veterans.

 

About the author

Olive Nakatudde
Olive Nakatudde is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Nakatudde has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Nakatudde started out in journalism in 2009 with Dembe FM radio in Kampala. In 2012, Nakatudde joined Voice of Africa as a political reporter. She has been a photographer since her journalism school days at Makerere University.

Nakatudde is interested in good governance and public policy, which she reports on intensively from the Uganda Parliament. She is a keen follower of cultural affairs in Buganda Kingdom and covers the kingdom's Lukiiko (parliament). Nakatudde also reports on education and health.