Legislators on the House’ committee on Commissions , statutory authorities and state enterprises (COSASE) have asked the Finance, Planning, and Economics Development Minister, Matia Kasaija to resign for alleged incompetence and the increasing scandals in his Ministry.
It came after Kasaija told the committee on Tuesday that his technical staff misled him to unlawfully approve a supplementary budget of Sh10.6 billion to offset six land claimants.
The Minister was appearing before MPs on the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities, and State enterprises (COSASE ) to explain why his Ministry released the funds since the supplementary expenditure was never initiated by the Uganda Land Commission (ULC).
The then Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban, Beti Olive Namisango Kamya Turomwe initiated the supplementary budget request as a vote under the Lands Ministry thus flouting the provisions of the Public Finance Management Act, 2015.
Kasaija told the MPs that after receiving the supplementary budget request, he appended his signature authorizing payments on an understanding that the technical staff, which mandate by law to guide him had fulfilled the formalities.
He apologized for the blunder and asked the Committee Chairperson to summon all the technical persons such as Keith Muhakanizi, the former Finance Ministry Permanent Secretary, and the Accountant General in the Finance Ministry who caused the blunder to explain their role.
Mawokota South MP, Yusuf Nsibambi, who described Kasaija as a senior Minister who out of negligence appended his signature without due diligence couldn’t have any of this.
Equally, Joyce Bagaa Ntwatwa, the Mityana District Woman representative indicated that by his own submission, the minister is overwhelmed by the work under his docket.
To Mpindi Bumala, the MP for Persons with Disabilities, Kasiaja has been involved in numerous inappropriate actions on behalf of the Government which has cost the taxpayers money, which makes his apology immaterial.
Notably, the Sh10.6 billion was used to compensate the late Kasiya Rwabukurukuru who received Sh 6.43 billion for land at Kiyunga in Sheema District, and Stephen Peter Nagenda of Rwanswa in Kibaale who received Sh 1.06 billion. Julius Busuulwa received Sh 1.4 billion, Natalia Namuli received Sh 1.6 billion, Yisaka Lwakana received Sh 125.3 million, and Mugisha Geoffrey Sh 1.49 billion for land at Buyaga in Kibaale District.
The agitated lawmakers pointed out that Kasaija released the funds to pay the beneficiaries some of whom are non-existent such as Natalia Namuli while others such as Stephen Peter Nagenda received double payments.
They also recounted that Kasaija is incapable of steering his docket they cited the controversial agreement he signed with the Vinci Uganda Coffee Company Limited, which drew public outrage leading to the cancellation of the pact.
They also faulted the Minister for the controversial Sh700billion Lubowa International Specialized Hospital project; the Uganda Railways Corporation – ULC compensation saga, and the South Sudan Traders reparation.
Also in March this year, COSASE pinned Kasaija alongside the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) for misguiding the Government into agreeing to a Sh700 billion loan deal to expand the Entebbe International Airport.
In 2017, Kasaija alongside Muhakanizi, the Secretary to the Treasury were named in a rice import scandal after MPs accused them of masterminding tax exemptions on unprocessed rice imports.