Pressure Mounts! Minister Kasaija Considers Resigning Over ‘Piercing’ Karamoja Ironsheets Scandal

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The Finance Minister Matia Kasaija is considering stepping down over the Karamoja iron sheet scandal, the Nile Post has learnt.

The Finance Minister Matia Kasaija is considering stepping down over the Karamoja iron sheet scandal, the Nile Post has learnt.

According to sources familiar with the matter, the 78-year-old minister has been exploring options outside the Museveni administration ever since president took a firm stand against those implicated in the iron sheet saga.

Whereas he could have weathered a whole lot of storm, including the Entebbe Airport scandal, the minister seems to have yielded and allowed to capsize in the shallow waters caused by 300 pieces of iron sheets that until today claims were unsolicited for on his side.

This website understands that the minister first hinted about resigning on Wednesday.

It is also understood that in what seems to be his last throw of the dice, the minister took all Thursday engaged in negotiations with the Prime Minister, who is also leader of government business before reaching out to President Museveni.

Another source has confirmed to this website that Kasaija was part of a meeting of other government officials together with Museveni at Nakasero State House.

It is said that shortly after the meeting, the minister side-bared the president and according to the source, the outcome of the meeting was “not pleasing” to Kasaija as Museveni insisted on him walking out of cabinet while he still has chance.

It is not yet clear whether the proposal for resignation was made by President Museveni or initiated by Kasaija himself, but those close to the ever-confident minister say he has been like deflated balloon over the last few days, specifically worried his days are nigh.

Kasaijja’s name has been coming closer up the list as fellow ministers got their dose of jail recently, and a source in police pricy to the matter told this that he was meant to be picked the same day Lugoloobi was netted.

This website also understands that Kasaijja continued to play brave, sticking to his script that the iron sheets made their way to his home unbeckoned, and became a fixture in his store while he went about government duty unaware of their addition to his belongings.

Even when summoned by the parliamentary committee on presidential affairs which was investigating the matter, Kasaija insisted he has never solicited for the iron sheets and that incessant pleas from the distributor and fellow Minister Mary Goretti Kitutu left him without a single option but to accept the advance of 300 iron sheets, nonetheless, he was not aware of how they got to him.

It took the president’s stand in cabinet and consequent decree through the Prime Minister for Kasaijja to understand that the matter would not be a talk-your-way-through situation, which later prompted him to deliver the iron sheets back to the OPM, albeit less by two.

His batch was labeled “evidence” on arrival at OPM and he the ‘dogs were let out of him”.

It is from here that he chose to seek a proper amnesty, dashing to the OPM and later to President Museveni dangling a proposal to resign.

However, when contacted for a comment, Minister Kasaija denied.

“Where have you got that from? It is all trash,”Kasaija told the Nile Post in a brief phone interview on Thursday evening.

President Museveni stance

The president recently said all those involved in the Karamoja iron sheet saga but pay.

“Those who diverted the mabaati but not for personal use, must pay back the equivalent value in money or return the mabaati for the Karachuna, so that, that programme goes on,” Museveni said.

The president said he would take “political action against all those implicated.

“.. those who took the mabaati for personal use, its not just a political mistake, it is theft. Those involved must both bring back the mabaati or equivalent value in money but also be handled by police under the criminal laws of the country,” Museveni said.

“I will also take political action once the police has concluded their investigations.”

The president explained that the ministers and senior government officials committed subversive acts when they diverted the iron sheets which were meant for the Karachunas as part of government efforts to fight insecurity in the Karamoja sub-region.

To show seriousness, three ministers including Mary Goretti Kitutu, Amos Lugoloobi and Agnes Nandutu have been arraigned before court over the iron sheets scandal.

To this, Nandutu has since been committed to High Court for trial.

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