Museveni says dismissing Mutebile would affect the economy severely.
By Cyprian Musoke and Joyce Namutebi
President Yoweri Museveni has pleaded with Ugandan lawmakers to spare the Central Bank governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile in the sh142b Hassan Basajjabalaba compensation saga.
In a meeting with NRM members who sit on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) he convened at State House Entebbe on Friday, Museveni argued that while Mutebile erred in not consulting, he technically committed no offence, sources said.
“The President also said that whereas Mutebile never consulted him [Museveni] before making the commitments, for the sake of the economy, given the fact that he has for a long time been without blemish he should be spared,” sources said.
The National Resistance Movement (NRM) caucus on Thursday failed to agree on Mutebile’s fate when they received the Cabinet position on an earlier subcommittee report that recommended that Mutebile be absolved because he worked on assurances from the Minister of Finance.
PAC in its report on the compensation for city markets presented to Parliament last month indicts Mutebile, together with former ministers Khiddu Makubuya (general duties) and Syda Bbumba (finance) for over-paying businessman Basajjabalala.
The two ministers have since resigned.
The President, sources added, said Mutebile is the man at the centre of the economy and dismissing him or forcing him to resign would not augur very well for the country and will send bad signals to the market.
“The President pointed out that there is cost of error and that if one errs, you evaluate the error,” the sources said.
‘Mistake not to consult’
According to one of the PAC members Eddie Kwizera, Museveni said he had not talked to Mutebile, but noted that the mistake the governor made was that he did not consult.
“Museveni said he would look at what to do for the governor as to whether to sack him or reprimand him. He said that for a parliament committee, there can be additions or subtractions of its recommendations,” Kwizera explained.
Other sources quoted the President as saying that he had already taken a position to dismiss the three State House officials implicated in the report because people should not hide under him or misuse his directives.
On reports that PAC was compiling a report on loss of billions of shillings to Dura Cement Ltd, Museveni said the committee has not had enough information on Dura and asked them to go further and look for more information.
He said he is willing to interface with the committee on the matter and furnish them with more information.
“He also assured that he was willing to meet all PAC members as long as it is in line of fighting corruption,” Kwizera said, referring to the President.
On the meeting, Kwizera said the Museveni wanted to meet NRM members on PAC to thank them for the work they are doing in fighting corruption.
He said the Ugandan leader commended the committee for a good report and that the issue of fighting corruption was a concerted effort by everybody.
Museveni also said PAC members are like judges and urged them to seek more information, do research and be fair to all.
The meeting, which started at about 11am ended at 5pm. It was attended by about 20 legislators.