The Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Matia Kasaija has said he has never requested for iron sheets from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) but instead he just received a call from the latter to go and pick them from the OPM stores, a request he responded to in affirmative.
Kasaija made remarks during an interview with journalists on Friday, where he said.. “Sincerely speaking, I received the iron sheets but I did not request for them. I just received a call from someone telling me to ‘send someone to receive your iron sheets’ and I accepted. Under this sun who can refuse such wonderful, free iron sheets I could not refuse them because I needed them. Me I didn’t know that they were for Karamoja people because I don’t work in the Office of the Prime Minister.”
“I’m a minister and a Member of Parliament so if the Office of Prime Minister calls me to inquire if they can give me iron sheets to help in one of my programs to develop my constituency and I take them, is it wrong? Where is the crime? Did I steal them? No, I received them in the right way and I can account for them.
I don’t want people to ask how authentic it was for me to receive iron sheets because I’m not the head of the Office of Prime Minister. I don’t have any case to answer because I did not steal them. Also, I did not put in my tender requesting for iron sheets, I was just given . And I’m ready to account for every iron sheet because I did not sell them nor didI use them on my houses. They were all used on the government projects in my constituency,” he added.
Kasaija who received 600 iron sheets is among the Ministers on spot for receiving relief items meant for the vulnerable people of Karamoja.
The iron sheets kept in the OPM stores were meant to be distributed to people in the Karamoja sub-region under the affirmative action programme.
However, ministers divided them among themselves to help their constituency, thus sidelining the people of Karamoja yet they are the primary cause as to why a supplementary budget was passed to buy irons sheets in order to support them.