"Return The Cooperative Money You Swindled or go to jail" - M7 Fumes To The Sacked Parliament Budget Committee Boss MP Nyasio Mudimi.

News reaching our desk indicates that President Museveni was annoyed after the Parliament Committees Reshuffle Presented Hon Nyasio Mudimi, the MP From Elgon Constituency, Bulambuli District in Bugisu Sub-region in Eastern Uganda.

The President was furious about how the current appointees from Bugisu have resorted to only disappointments wherever he trusts them.

Our insiders at in State House revealed to us that While in the State House, the President ignored the documents and immediately ordered for his name to be removed from the list, our informers told us that the president also ordered whoever tampered with any government funds to be arrested. 

Hon Mudimi who was positioning himself as a potential Minister in the forthcoming Reshuffle messed up himself and is now in hiding.

It's alleged that he has finished months without even appearing in Parliament and he has resorted to staying at his home in Bulambuli. It has been alleged that the embattled MP now stays at his newly built storeyed house in Sissi village. 

Villagers say Mudimi is occasionally seen dishing out huge amounts of money to win the people's favor.  

Our Eagle eye from the Elgon region told us that the embattled MP is a guest at every burial, giving heavy condolences.

"This corruption will not end in Uganda if such people are left to go Unpunished" -Said one of the residents who had hope in the cooperative.

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The state minister for Trade, Harriet Ntababazi has revealed that up to 30 legislators are facing criminal investigation over their alleged role in the embezzlement UGX164Bn meant for compensation to the Cooperative Societies.

While appearing before the Committee on Trade and Tourism to update the MPs on the financial and physical performance of the trade and industry sector, Ntabazi said among those facing the probe by the police are five “talkative” opposition MPs.

The Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID) is taking on files, around 5 files have been identified and the good thing with it, it wasn’t only the Ministry, there are more than 30 MPs who are into this including Opposition MPs, five active opposition MPs, very talkative and noise makers (who) will also face it rough. We shall also face it as a Ministry, but they will also face it. So, we aren’t scared, wherever it will end, God knows, let it unfold that way, said Ntabazi.

Ntabazi did not reveal to the Committee the list of the 30 MPs that are up for questioning by the detectives.

However, in the Committee report which the House last month sent to CID and the Inspectorate of Government for further investigations, there were only two MPs supposed to be quizzed. They are; Elgon County MP, Mudimi Wamakuyu and Igara East MP, Michael Mawanda while former Kyankwanzi District Woman MP, Anne Maria Nankabirwa is also a target. 

Ntabaazi said that with this probe ongoing, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives will continue executing its mandate just like it was the case in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) when some Ministers were suspected to have stolen iron sheets meant for the Karamajong. Neither Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja nor her subordinate Ministers under OPM stepped aside when they were under probe over alleged diversion of iron sheets meant for Karamoja.

We aren’t scared because (the probe) is now beyond us, we are before the security investigatory organs of Government, let us battle out there and the law will have it all. That shouldn’t worry the Committee and that won’t stop the Government from working, otherwise that would have stopped the Office of Prime Minister from working, where the iron sheets were. So, I beg you that you cool down, those organs of Government are doing their work, said Ntabaazi.

 About the report

Parliament last month adopted without debate, the report by the Trade and Tourism Committee on the probe into how funds for Cooperatives was spent. The Committee discovered that payments amounting to UGX 48.77bn were made in excess and outside the allocated amounts to various cooperatives.  

 The Committee report highlighted that some compensations were made on unverified claims while there was a general lack of appreciation of the rationale for compensation to cooperatives for war losses.

However, Tom Bright Amooti, MP for Kyaka Central expressed concern over another move by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives to disburse more UGX 36.318bn to 18 Cooperative Unions for war loss claims in the last financial year, yet they had recommended a halt of payments.

Cooperatives were being formed in the night when the money was going to be disbursed the next morning, now at the same time, you are saying you have created new cooperatives, and you want more money to pay cooperatives. What type of cooperatives are we going to pay? asked Amooti.

Kioga North MP, James Olobo vowed not to support any approval of funds for Cooperatives until the current mess is sorted.

Which are these cooperative societies and how much have they got? There are issues here about cooperatives, unless this thing of the cooperatives has been cleared, completely, I am going to be one of those who will walk out of parliament when someone says they are going to give money to cooperatives. If this report had been debated in Parliament, it would have been a very big shame to Ugandans, Olobo stated.

PS Ssali issues 

Meanwhile, Minister Ntabazi asked the Committee not to punish the Ministry over mistakes that might have been committed by Geraldine Ssali, the Permanent Secretary.

She was reacting to the sentiments received from several MPs on the Committee over their reluctance to approve funds for the Ministry over the bad conduct of Ssali, accusing her of indiscipline and insubordination.

  We also on behalf of our Permanent Secretary, want to apologize for all we have taken you through as a committee, but remember you are the mother committee and the mother is always tolerant. This committee is bigger than the Permanent Secretary and the Ministry is bigger than the Permanent Secretary as an individual, said Minister Ntabazi.

In an emotionally charged plea, the Minister asked the Committee to always offer advice to the Ministry in order to improve service delivery.

I implore you as a committee, as much as we deserve punishment, but we also deserve advice where we are going wrong. For a Ministry to be punished for issues to do with a personality, it may not be right. I have heard from many MPs that the Ministry of Trade may struggle to get a budget because of ABC. We are sorry but we are human, wherever there is a problem with a person, in an organisation, please don’t punish the organisation this Ministry is there to stay, the people will come and go. Otherwise, we are so sorry for all that hasn’t gone right, she added. 

The frosty relationship between the Trade Committee and Ssali played out in the public when Parliament adopted recommendations of the report by the Trade Committee, calling for the sacking of Ssali over allegations of inflating the price for the renovation works on Farmers’ House, the Ministry Headquarters.

The call to sack Ssali was part of the 16-recommendation contained in the Committee report following probe into the utilisation of UGX 5Bn that was meant for the acquisition of new office Space at Kingdom Hall building in Kampala, but the top officials at the Ministry instead opted to use it to carry out renovations, a decision that raised queries.

Mwine Mpaka, Chairperson Parliament’s Trade Committee while presenting the report in August 2023 also faulted Ssali for failing to regulate and ensure proper utilisation of funds which saw the cost of works inflated to a tune of UGX 2Bn.

 The Committee therefore finds that the Permanent Secretary Geraldiine Ssali is personally liable for the dubious and mysterious inflation of the estimated contract price from UGX 4.664Bn to UGX 6.2Bn without any formal or legal justification, remarked Mpaka.

The report also read in part,

The PS/ST exercise his authority to withdraw the appointment and designation of Ssali as an Accounting Officer of Ministry of Trade in view of her failure to control the regularity and proper use of money appropriated to the vote in regard to the procurement of renovation works,

Acting on the recommendations of Parliament, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance/Secretary to Treasury, Ramathan Ggoobi, relieved Ssali of her duties but the decision was later reversed following a Presidential directive to have her reinstated

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