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National Budget: CID to summon senior Finance Ministry officials over corruption allegations

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Police’s Criminal Investigations Department (CID) is in the final stages of summoning senior officials in the Budget Department in the Ministry of Finance over corruption allegations, this news website can reliably say.

According to our sources, among the officials lined up for summoning and statement recording with the CID include the Director of Budget. Currently, according to the ministry’s website, the Acting Director of Budget is Mr. Ishmael Magona.

The officials are said to have the habit of inflating the national budget for their own benefit. This Thursday the Minister of Finance will present a Shs 72 trillion budget for the financial year 2024/2025.

Relatedly three Members of Parliament including Cissy Dionizia (Lwengo District Woman MP), Yusuf Mutembule (Bunyole East), and Paul Akamba, the Busiki County legislator were summoned, recorded statements and detained by the police over allegations of asking money to pass the budget for the financial year 2024/2025.

The legislators’ summoning by the CID follows President Yoweri Museveni’s warning last Thursday during the State of Nation Adress (SONA) that he had corruption-related evidence against some MPs and senior officials in the Finance ministry.

According to Museveni, legislators were colluding with accounting officers to allocate public money in exchange for kickbacks. The President said the evidence confirmed the long-standing rumours of graft in the annual appropriation of public money.

He likened the corrupt officials in the ministry and the affected MPs to traitors and suggested that some of the culprits might need if their wrongdoings were unintentional.

Museveni warned the corrupt MPs and the Finance Ministry officials to desist from altering the national budget, and only make recommendations, stating that the national budget appropriation is his responsibility.

Other people talked to in the Ministry say this scandal is related to the one where some officials in the Ministry of Finance, and others in the Trade Ministry connived with some MPs to steal money meant to pay cooperatives. The public is still waiting for the police and other investigating organs of the government, to release a report on the same.

President Museveni will address Ugandans again during the Budget Speech, and his handlers say he will still talk about corruption in parliament and other agencies of government.

Corruption is one of the major obstacles, that are undermines Uganda’s social economic development. Although substantial investments have been made to combat corruption in Uganda, it continues to impose wide ranging costs on the society. Corruption leads to loss of trust in government, poor infrastructure, delays in project implementation, low investments and poor social service delivery and loss of life.

Despite being a clear challenge, there are no comprehensive estimates of the extent and cost of corruption. By failing to measure the cost of corruption and establishing the magnitude of the problem to Ugandans, adequate and appropriate anti-corruption interventions cannot be developed.

Fully eradicating corruption in Uganda is estimated to result in total societal savings of at least Shs 9.1 trillion which is equivalent to 44 percent of total government revenue in 2019. In other words, corruption cost each Ugandan in 2019 at least Shs200,000, according to a recent report from the Inspectorate of Government.

It is understood that a host of government officials mostly Accounting Officers have been conniving with some legislators and some Clerks of committees at Parliament to inflate their budgets by inserting an agreeable amount money at budgeting level and this would later be passed at budgetary level and shared amongst the officials in the concerned departments.

According to sources, the most affected departments are directory of budget at Ministry of Finance, several Permanent Secretaries, heads of government agencies, UnderSecretaries, Principal Accountants and some officials at Bank of Uganda. However, this racket is spearheaded by a former Member of Parliament from one the districts in Ankole sub-region who is a go between in negociating deal between MPs and technocrats.

Soucres further reveal that this vice has been ongoing for sometimes since tenure of the former director of budget at the same ministry. It is alleged that the former director of budget quit his post after the new firebrand permanent secretary took office and issued serious warning

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