Opposition Calls for Sacking of Ministers Over Iron Sheet Scandal

A section of Opposition Members of Parliament have called for the sacking of all ministers who accessed iron sheets meant to support livelihoods of the vulnerable and social infrastructure in Karamoja sub-region.

Details from the Office of the Prime Minister indicate that during the financial year 2021/2022, the department of Karamoja Affairs obtained a supplementary budget to support the Peace and Disarmament exercise in the sub-region and part of the budget were spent to procure iron sheets.

More than 95,000 iron sheets were procured out of which, 25,514 were released and 71,144 remained in the store.

In a statement on Thursday, Geoffrey Sseremba, the Under Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, said the distribution of iron sheets has been temporarily halted due to the ongoing investigations following reports of theft of some of the iron sheets. Sseremba says distribution shall resume as soon as the investigating agencies have concluded the exercise. 

Mary Gorreti Kitutu, the Minister in charge of Karamoja Affairs is under inquiry for allegedly diverting iron sheets to unintended people.

Documents at the Office of the Prime Minister indicate that she personally received 3,000 iron sheets. Other ministers who received iron sheets include Joyce Moriku Kaducu, the Minister of State for Primary Education who got 200 pieces, Rebecca Kadaga, the Minister of East African Affairs who got 500 pieces, Jacob Oboth, the Minister of State for Defence, who received 300 pieces and finance minister Matia Kasaija who received 300 iron sheets. The list also has Rukia Nakadama, the Third Deputy Prime Minister who got 300 iron sheets, Government Chief Whip Dennis Hamson Obua with 300 iron sheets and Fred Bwiino Kyakulaga, the State Minister for Agriculture who got 300 iron sheets.

The Inspector General of Government (IGG) Beti Olive Kamya has since taken up the investigation and the Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among, who was initially also mentioned among the beneficiaries, directed the Presidential Affairs Committee to carry out an inquiry into the matter and report back in one month.

Now Opposition MPs including Mityana Woman representative Joyce Bagala, Wakiso Woman MP Betty Naluyima and Mukono North’s Abdallah Kiwanuka want President Yoweri Museveni to sack all the ministers involved in the scandal.

They have also asked that Minister Kitutu steps aside as investigations into the matter continue. Bagala says that the Opposition plans to join MPs from Karamoja sub-region who seek to censure the minister, if she does not step aside.

The Shadow Minister for Information and Anti-Corruption on Friday emphasized the need for government to exhibit the will of fighting corruption by relieving the ministers of their duties immediately. She also appealed that the ministers are tried under the Anti-Corruption Act for loss of property and abuse of office.

Abdallah Kiwanuka, the Mukono North MP appealed to government to provide more support to the Inspectorate of Government to ably investigate graft in the country.

Karamoja sub-region has in the past years suffered ravages of insecurity and famine that has claimed lives. The humanitarian crisis in Karamoja has led to the displacement of families from their homes to neighbouring districts.        

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