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    National

    Trade PS Geraldine Ssali Summoned Over Shs164b Cooperative Compensation Probe

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    Trade PS Geraldine Ssali Summoned Over Shs164b Cooperative Compensation Probe
    • June 28, 2024 • 24 days ago
    in summary
    The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade, Geraldine Ssali, and her team have been summoned by police regarding an ongoing investigation into Shs164 billion compensation for cooperatives affected by past conflicts. The summons follow similar actions against parliamentary committee members. The investigation, initiated by Speaker Anita Among, has uncovered multiple irregularities.

    The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives, Ms. Geraldine Ssali, along with her team, has been summoned by the police in connection with the ongoing investigation into the Shs164 billion compensation for cooperatives affected by past conflicts. This follows a similar summons to the chairman of the Parliament budget committee and other clerks.

    Ms. Ssali and her colleagues involved in the compensation process are expected to appear today at the Criminal Investigations Directorate in Kibuli, Kampala. Despite efforts to obtain a comment from Ms. Ssali, she remained unreachable, and police spokesman Fred Enanga provided no additional information on the summons.

    The parliamentary Committee on Tourism, Trade, and Industry's report repeatedly mentioned Ms. Geraldiine Ssali, highlighting her involvement in the controversial compensation of claimants from the Bwavumpoloma Growers Cooperative. This cooperative received Shs2.7 billion from the government in November 2021. Ms. Ssali has maintained that these payments were made before her tenure as the accounting officer of the Trade Ministry.

    Members of Parliament have recommended the interdiction of Ms. Ssali and other implicated public servants to facilitate an unbiased investigation. The compensation of war debt claimants dates back to the Eighth Parliament in the mid-2000s, initially managed by the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs before being transferred to the Trade Ministry. The investigation spans a period from 2006 onwards, with many involved officials now retired, deceased, or reassigned.

    Recently, detectives interrogated Kachumbala MP Patrick Isiagi Opolot, the chairman of the Budget Committee, and several Parliament clerks, who explained parliamentary procedures related to claimant payments. After recording their statements, they were released.

    Since the investigation began, three MPs, Hon. Michael Mawanda (Igara West), Hon. Ignatius Wamakuyu Mudimi (Elgon), and Hon. Paul Akamba (Busiki), along with lawyer Julius Kirya, have appeared before the Anti-Corruption Court and been remanded.

    The probe into the cooperative compensation was initiated on August 25, 2023, by Speaker Annet Anita Among, directing the parliamentary Committee on Tourism, Trade, and Industry to review the funds disbursed to cooperatives between the financial years 2011/2012 and 2022/2023. The government aimed to compensate cooperative societies that lost funds and property during conflicts from 1979 to 2006, leading to their collapse. The committee's investigation uncovered multiple irregularities, including ghost claimants and double payments.

    This investigation underscores the government's commitment to addressing corruption and ensuring transparency in the compensation process, aiming to restore integrity and accountability within public service transactions.

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