Parliament's trade committee wants Ssali sacked over shillings 8 billion scandal  

The Trade Committee of the Ugandan Parliament has issued a recommendation for the removal of Geraldine Ssali, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives.

The committee's decision comes in the wake of accusations against Ssali for her alleged involvement in illegal and deliberate fraudulent practices that have cost the government a staggering 8 billion shillings.

The Parliamentary Committee on Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives recently concluded its investigation into the controversies surrounding the diversion of 5 billion shillings, originally allocated for rent, towards the renovation of Farmers House.

The findings of the probe have led the committee to call for Ssali's removal from her position, citing abuse of office, causing financial loss, negligence of duty, and other charges.

Chairperson of the Trade Committee, Mwine Mpaka, stated, "They further want Ssali prosecuted by the Directorate of Public Prosecutions for negligence of duty, disobedience, and causing financial loss."

The troubles for Ssali do not end there, as the investigation's findings reveal that the allocated funds were misused.

The committee discovered irregularities and illegalities in the procurement processes, with Mpaka emphasizing that "all the procurement processes were irregular, illegal, and a nullity."

One startling revelation from the investigation was that a significant shillings 570 million was spent transferring documents from the ministry offices in Kampala to Entebbe.

The committee anticipates that this figure could triple to shillings 1.6 billion if additional relocations are required.

Another fraudulent aspect of the procurement process involved the publication of the contract winner for only three days, instead of the required 10 days as stipulated by the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets (PPDA) Act.

The committee also raised concerns about the contractor, Sarick Construction Company Limited, which is now demanding 8.4 billion shillings—significantly more than the 4.6 billion shillings originally valued and approved by the Ministry of Works and Transport.

In addition to recommending a forensic audit of the shillings 570 million used for document transportation, the committee called for an investigation into Transport officer Daniel Kalule for his alleged involvement in facilitating the creation of ghost fuel cards, which resulted in a loss of shillings 362 million.

In response to these serious allegations and recommendations, Trade Minister Fred Mwebesa assured parliament that action would be taken.

The Speaker of Parliament emphasized that this action should be carried out within two weeks, with the executive branch expected to report back to the house.

As this scandal unfolds, it underscores the importance of accountability and transparency in government institutions, with parliament taking decisive steps to ensure that those responsible for financial mismanagement are held accountable for their actions.

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