Top Health Official Suspended Over Bribe

Frank Mugisha Kasaka, senior Health ministry official accused of soliciting a bribe from an Italian investor, has been finally suspended at the urging of President Museveni.

Dr Asuman Lukwago, the permanent secretary in the ministry of Health, confirmed at the weekend that Kasaka, a principal procurement officer, was under investigation. On August 22, the president directed Dr Lukwago to dismiss Kasaka for allegedly soliciting a bribe from an Italian investor.

The president’s directive followed a complaint from Enrica M Pinetti, the chairman of Finasi Company. Kasaka allegedly asked for a commission of 20 per cent of the total project he was “handling in order to finalize the procurement process.”

Without making further investigations, the president directed Dr Lukwago to fire Kasaka immediately and replace him with an honest civil servant.

“How can you keep a thief in the ministry? And how are you going to counsel a thief? A thief is a thief. He should be removed,” the president reportedly said.

The president said he invited Finasi Company to Uganda to build a first-class hospital that would handle complicated cases such as kidney and heart operations.

“I requested them to come to Uganda to deal with kidney and heart problems so that we stop people from going to India for treatment,” he said.

Lukwago told The Observer at the weekend that he had already acted on Kasaka.

“I immediately sent him on interdiction. The ministry of Finance has already placed him under formal investigations,” Lukwago said.

Kasaka was reportedly replaced by his deputy, senior procurement officer, only identified as Higenyi. Lukwago said the ministry of Finance would decide Kasaka’s fate – whether to dismiss him from public service or transfer him.

Kasaka first worked with the ministry of Agriculture before being transferred to Health. Finasi, founded in the early 1970s is an importerexporter and primary goods trader in the Middle East and Africa. It has innovated and developed specific know-how in the health care, oil and gas, Interiors and organic food fields delivering value-added services to its clients.

Source : The Observer

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