The head of the State House Anti-Corruption Unit, Lt Col Edith Nakalema, has said that the arrest of senior officials in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) was on the orders of the President.
Addressing journalists in Kampala on Monday, Col Nakalema dismissed as mere propaganda reports that she was involved in contracting of suppliers, determining of prices and quality of food stuffs in the ongoing COVID-19 related procurement exercise.
OPM Permanent Secretary Christine Guwatudde Kintu, Undersecretary Joel Wanjala, Mr Martin Owor, the commissioner disaster preparedness and Fred Lutimba, the assistant commissioner in charge of procurement, were arrested on allegations of inflating prices of food items that are currently being distributed in the ongoing lockdown over coronavirus.
However, several sections of the media reported that the State House Anti-Corruption Unit was being used by some suppliers who missed on the OPM contract.
But Lt Col Nakalema on Monday said that the ongoing investigations regarding the alleged inflation of the food prices were directed by President Museveni after he received reports that the OPM accounting officers were rejecting suppliers who were offering lower prices for beans and maize flour, opting for those who offered higher prices.
“This is to categorically state that I as the head of State House Anticorruption Unit or any other staff of the unit are not in any way involved in determining the suppliers, the prices and the quality of COVID-19 food related procurement exercise. This on-going investigation is being supported by a number of relevant government departments and agencies,” Lt Col Nakalema said.
“… the State House Anticorruption Unit acting under article 99 (4) of the Constitution of Uganda in liaison with criminal investigations department acting under article 120 (3) carried out a special investigation into the ongoing Covid 19 related food procurement exercise in the office of the Prime Minister,” she added.
Lt Col Nakalema added that the Unit has no mandate to direct the ministries, agencies and departments on doing their work.
She also revealed that preliminary findings have established that the suspects were inflating prices and rejecting lower price offers from suppliers.
“We nevertheless remain steadfast in the pursuit of our mandate to investigate cases of corruption and to ensure that the culprits face the law,” she added