By Spy Uganda
The Ministry of Trade accounting officer Geraldine Ssali has been fired over fraudulent deals in her Ministry, Spy Uganda has learnt.
In the letter dated 03rd October 2023, the Permanent Secretary/Secretary to Treasury Ramathan Ggoobi cited the resolutions of parliament on the sectoral committee on investigations into the utilization of the supplementary budget for the financial year 2021/2022 to the Ministry of Trade for the rent of new office premises.
In his letter, Ggoobi tasked Minister of Trade to nominate a suitable officer to execute the duties of the accounting officer pending investigations. Also, Ggoobi fired a one Tom Opio who had been illegally working in the electronic government procurement system and management.
Parliament in August 2023 adopted a report by its Committee on Tourism, Trade and Industry recommending the dismissal of Ms Ssali.
This is on account of Ssali’s alleged failure to control the regularity and proper use of money appropriated to the vote for procurement of renovation works on offices used by the Ministry at Farmer’s House.
“Ms Geraldine Ssali should be investigated with a view of prosecution by the DPP for negligence of duty, disobedience of statutory duty, abuse of office and causing financial loss to Government,” read the report in part.
The Committee Chairperson, Mwine Mpaka noted that in Financial Year 2021/2022, a supplementary request of Shs8 billion was made by then-permanent secretary, Grace Adong, for the rent of office premises.
Parliament, however, granted Shs5 billion for the purpose, where-after Adong was transferred from the Ministry and handed over office to Ssali.
Ssali, in May 2022, requested the Secretary to the Treasury for virement of the Shs5 billion from rent to renovation of Ministry offices, to which the PSST authorised a change of work plan to enable utilisation of the funds.
“To the utter shock of the Committee, it was established that 14 days earlier, even before a revised work plan could have been approved by PSST, Geraldine Ssali had authorised the initiation of the procurement process for renovation of office premises,” said Mwine Mpaka.
He added that Ssali’s actions raised suspicion and distrust on how she intended to utilise technical guidance of the PSST yet her request for virement was not legally tenable.
The Committee further observed that two different procurements for the renovation were initiated under domestic bidding with different sets of companies under the same procurement reference number.
“This is a clear indication that the procurement process for the on-going renovation works was tainted with fraud therefore rendering it illegal,” Mwine Mpaka added.