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Alarm as government spies run out of operational cash

Parliament. Hundreds of government spies across the country are financially grounded after ministry of Finance officials rejected a request of Shs9.8 billion in a supplementary funding, a situation the lawmakers said is likely to jeopardise security in the country.

On a day the President’s Office disclosed that ISO is unable to perform its statutory functions, State House Comptroller Lucy Nakyobe also told the Parliamentary Committee on Presidential Affairs that President Museveni had scrapped 8,000 State House scholarships and directed that the Shs30 billion be taken to the new students loan scheme.

Officials from State House and the President’s Office were yesterday appearing before the Committee to defend their budget performance and explain the challenges they face. Ms Deborah Katuramu, the Secretary in the President’s Office, told the Committee chaired by Col Fred Mwesigye (Nyabushozi) that after depleting their budget of Shs7.4billion, they went to ministry of Finance to request for an additional Shs9.8 but they were told that there was no money.

“ISO has finished all its budget for this financial year, we don’t have any money left,” Ms Katuramu told the Committee.

An official from ISO who was in the Committee but requested not to be named because of the nature of his job said ISO is also demanding for Shs21 billion to cater for gratuity of the intelligence officers.

Asked how ISO operates without funds, Ms Katuramu deflected the question to the political leadership of the ministry. Security minister Muruli Mukasa and the Minister for Presidency, Mr Frank Tumwebaze were not available for comment as their phones were switched off. Mr Tumwebaze briefly appeared before the committee and requested to attend to other official duties.

Ministry of Finance spokesperson Jim Mugunga defended the rejection of the supplementary budget saying: “The Ministry of Finance never disregards justified requests, or for that matter, any requests from ministries and departments of government for supplementary resources. We only happen to follow a clearly laid down procedure and at times we have turned down unqualified supplementary and this does not make us popular.”

The Committee leadership aised minister for Presidency to officially write to the Committee detailing the request for additional funding to ISO so that they can take up the matter.

ISO mandateUnder the Security Organisations Act, the functions of the security organisations include among others (a) to collect receive and process internal and external intelligence data on the security of Uganda (b) to aise and recommend to the President or any other authority as the President may direct on what action should be taken in connection with that intelligence data.

SOURCE: DAILY MONITOR

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