The Attorney General’s office has dismissed findings of the Auditor General that it sanctioned the signing of loans worth 1.3 trillion shillings without the approval of Parliament.
In the Audit report to parliament, the Auditor General reported that Government through the Ministry of Finance signed 9 loan agreements worth 1.3 trillion shillings without Parliament’s approval.
This is in contravention of Articles 159 and 119 of the Constitution and section 20 of the Public Finance and Accountability Act which state that only Parliament can sanction borrowing.
The report stated that the Solicitor General and the Attorney General’s office which are supposed to ensure strict adherence to the law participated in clearing these loans.
The Commissioner for Legal advisory services in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Christopher Gashirabake accused the Auditor General’s Office of misleading Parliament with wanting audit reports. This was on Monday during his appearance before Parliament’s National Economy Committee which is probing the matter.
Gashirabake said there is a procedural step the Auditor General’s Office does not understand while writing its audit reports. He demanded the Auditor General’s office to provide evidence that the Attorney General gave a legal opinion on any borrowing not okayed by Parliament saying that he does not want their office to be associated with that allegation.
He added that when his office negotiates with a Bank from which the borrowing is supposed to be done and agree on the terms and sign, the Attorney General’s office reports back to the country on the negotiations.
Gashirabake said after the Attorney General’s report, its then the Ministry of Finance who are the actual borrowers that go to cabinet for authorization and after cabinet okays the loan, they proceed to Parliament for approval.
Gashirabake noted that until cabinet and Parliament have approved the loan, there is no agreement worth talking about saying that you cannot talk of a loan agreement which has not been approved by Parliament and that the Auditor General’s Office is misleading Parliament and it must stop.
Keto Nyapendi Kayemba, the Assistant Auditor General defended their opinion in the audit report saying they acted to save the country from making mistakes after realising that there was a risk taken when the finance ministry acquired loans without parliament’s approval.
Francis Atoke, the Solicitor General pleaded with the committee for two days to study the relevant files and loans acquired by the Finance Ministry and report back on Wednesday with a conclusive response.
Stephen Biraahwa Mukitale, the Chairperson of the National Economy Committee noted that he wants the Solicitor General and Attorney General to come Wednesday to own their legal opinions to the finance ministry which Okayed the acquiring of loans.