President Museveni Directs Finance PS Ramathan Ggoobi To Reinstate Geraldine Ssali As Trade Ministry’s Accounting Officer

President Museveni Directs Finance PS Ramathan Ggoobi To Reinstate Geraldine Ssali As Trade Ministry’s Accounting Officer

By Spy Uganda

Kampala: President Museveni has directed Finance PS Ramathan Ggoobi to reinstate Geraldine Ssali as the Accounting Officer for the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives.

The directive comes weeks after Ggoobi had asked Ssali to step aside pending the outcome of an investigation into the claims of impropriety brought against her in a report of Parliament.

In an attempt to clip her powers, Ssali who was accused of mismanaging the office was thrown out of office a few weeks ago and replaced by the Ministry’s under Secretary Oyo Andima.

“Parliament carried out an investigation into the activities of the Ministry of Trade and made recommendations among others that this ministry should ensure going forward, accountability is guaranteed. I therefore went ahead with guidance of my technical people to kick start the process of implementing the recommendation of parliament and it is what we did,” Ggoobi said.

Parliament in August 2023 adopted a report by its Committee on Tourism, Trade and Industry recommending the dismissal of Ms Ssali on account of 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 authorized a change of work plan to enable utilization 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 authorized 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 utilize 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.

It’s worth noting that Ssali recently over under took the renovation of the trade ministry offices located at Farmers’ House along Parliamentary Avenue where the facility’s two floors have been renovated and fitted with new office furniture, doors, windows, electrical systems, plumbing systems, internet connectivity among others.

The 59 Year old, Farmers’ House which was built way back in 1964 by Lint Marketing Board, has been in a sorry state which has been putting government documents and staff at a huge risk of fire and health-related risks, thus compelling Ssali to inject in millions for its facelift.

According to sources the UGX 5billion apparently was meant to shift the offices to much more befitting offices and building fit for the 21st century to house such a vital government office, but Ssali in her wisdom decided to renovate the current offices

Ssali recently handed over the two completed floors and is yet to embark on the renovation of other two floors which houses her ministry and other government agencies. an accessible web community

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