Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Be serious this time... PLEASE

For days now, the media has been awash on the proceedings of the Public Accounts Committee. The committee is currently looking into the misuse of the CHOGM funds.
From the purchase of faulty ambulances which the ministry of Health officials could not tell whether they were used or not to the incomplete work on the beautification of the Kampala and Entebbe cities, one thing is clear. There were a lot of fraudulences in the preparation for CHOGM.

From the findings it is visible that the taxpayers’ money was misused. What is more disheartening is the fact that cabinet ministers and other outstanding public officials are being implicated. For them it was another way to make more money irrespective of the fact that these monies were meant for real cause. Annoyingly so is also the fact that they are shifting blame, the Ministry of Health Officials have said they could not be blamed for the purchase of 23 faulty ambulances that but instead the Ministry of Works should. Question is: Were they not received by Ministry of Health? Why did they have to settle for less?

My observation is that the CHOGM was in so many ways a rip-off of the common man because the money meant for the meeting was not put to proper use. The Public Accounts Committee has asked for the CID to take over by investigating into some of the cases. But why call for investigations when the evidence is overwhelming and there is a clear report from the Auditor General’s Office which provides prima facie evidence for action?

And clearly what is holding some government departments like IGG, CID and DPP to prosecute the officials responsible? Books are being doctored minutes before the committee appearances. Is that not evidence enough to put some of these officials behind bars? What more is needed? Possibly PAC should be given enough authority to have these officials charged in court (although history is not on their side as to what happens to their numerous reports).

In conclusion this probe should never end up like any other; otherwise somehow we are tired of probes after probes that have only facilitated some officials to keep stealing because it will be a report after all. Can’t we learn from Tanzania where a Prime Minister was taken out because of allegations just; what about Rwanda where the burden of proof shifts because of Political Will of one person? Transparency International’s current CPI that has put us at 130 has only shown us that there is a lot to be done but as long our leaders treat corruption as a means of political survival, the story has just began...

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