Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah has demanded the Ministry of Finance to explain to the house why Finance Ministry has failed to appoint new accounting officers to replace the three permanent secretaries that MPs refused to appropriate money against their names while passing the supplementary budget schedule 2.
The MPs argued that the three accounting officers’ reputation was questioned by the Public court and these include Pius Bigirimana previously under Prime Minister’s Office and now in the Ministry of Gender, Public Service PS Asuman Lukwago and PS Stephen Kagoda of the Internal Affairs Ministry.
The Junior Minister of Finance then Matia Kasaija committed himself to provide Parliament with new names of accounting officers within a week which he did not and later asked for more time saying that legal issues arose and the ministry was consulting the Solicitor General.
Oulanyah cited Article 164 (1) of the Constitution that provides that the Permanent Secretaries or Accounting Officers in charge of any Ministry or Department should be accountable to Parliament for funds in that Ministry or Department.
Oulanyah noted that the Finance Minister made an undertaking to the house to bring names of the officers and also clarify on the matter questioning why the junior ministers from the Ministry keep coming to Parliament without names of the new appointed officers and with no clear explanation.
This was after Junior Minister for Investment in the Ministry of Finance Gabriel Ajedra Gadison saying that the appointment of substantive officers in various ministries being based on recommendations of the Ministry of Public Service.
Ajedra noted that they have to consult with the Public Service Ministry to see who is suitable for appointment as substantive accounting officer.
He urged MPs to be patient as the Finance Ministry consults with Public Service to see who is suitable.
Minister Tarsis Kabwegyere acknowledged that the matter was raised questioning the integrity of three senior accounting officers in the country but asked MPs to be patient.
He said that this cannot be a simple matter of appointing new officers within two or three days as MPs want it to be.
However Deputy Speaker did not buy the minister’s argument saying that enough time had been given to the Finance Ministry to appoint new officers and it should do so and then asked the Junior Minister of Public Service Ssezi Mbagutta to inform parliament when Parliament will receive names of new officers to replace the three.
Mbagutta told Parliament that the Public Service Ministry will provide the new names to Parliament on Tuesday next week without fail.