Uganda's First Lady to be grilled over missing cash

Janet Museveni, Uganda's First Lady.   FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Uganda's First Lady could be questioned when the Public Accounts Committee next week begins inquiring into the multi-billion shilling theft scandal at the Office of the Prime Minister, members revealed yesterday.

Ms Janet Museveni’s name reportedly came up during exploratory talks PAC held with Auditor General John Muwanga yesterday morning. In the same discussions, it was also revealed that part of the foreign aid OPM received for northern Uganda and Karamoja was spent on buying high-end luxury vehicles for ministers in the department.

PAC members say they expect the President’s wife, who is the Minister for Karamoja, to explain how she could have travelled to Israel at least nine times in one month alone.

“The auditors have given us shocking details in their report… [The First Lady] is supposed to answer for the expenditure in travel abroad. The information we have shows that she travelled nine times to Israel in one month and this is suspicious,” Mr Gerald Karuhanga (Indep. Youth Western) said.

Mr Karuhanga said PAC agreed that Ms Museveni be invited to explain her side of the story. “Whether people used her name to siphon money… that will be another matter.”

Last night, Presidential Press Secretary Tamale Mirundi, who clarified that he was speaking on behalf of the First Lady and not the Minister for Karamoja, said the question should not be how many times the First Lady travelled to Israel.

“Did she travel for holiday or tourism? She travelled for official duty because Israel is an expert in agriculture in arid areas. In any case, the Constitution does not limit the number of times a First Lady should travel to Israel,” Mr Mirundi said.

He said when summoned, the First Lady will appear before PAC to defend herself.

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