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Geraldine Ssali Clashes With MPs Over Accountability Of Cooperatives Compensation Funds

Geraldine Ssali (Left) and officials from trade ministry appearing before PAC

The Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Geraldine Ssali has clashed with MPs on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) over the  December 2023 Auditor General’s report.

MPs  halted the consideration of the Ministry of Trade’s December 2023 Auditor General report after the Ministry of trade officials were accused of refusing to handover documents about the accountability for cooperatives compensation funds, during the audit exercise.

Ssali instead accused the Auditor General of authoring a biased report.

Ssali also accused the Attorney General, Kiryowa Kiwanuka of ignoring her two requests for legal interpretation on how the Ministry of Trade should proceed with Cooperatives and how her Ministry was meant to disburse money to third parties, saying the two times she sought for an opinion, she never got a written response. “I didn’t think it was fair for the Auditor General to say that records of the coorporative unions were missing and I think there was a miscommunication between my office and Auditor General office but at that time when records were requested, of the 8 cooperatives were requested, they were given,” said Ssali.

Muwanga Kivumbi, the PAC Chairperson, who’s also the Butambala County MP,  accused the Ministry of Trade of trying to impeach the powers of both the Committee and Parliament when Ssali questioned the authenticity of the auditor general’s report, instead of seeking for a legal opinion from the Attorney General on how to address her concerns on the report & instead opted to use desk office lawyers.

However, Ssali denied accusations of attempting to impeach powers of Parliament noting, “I don’t even want to use the word impeachment because I remember how that word was over used in the US, it was alien to me, it isn’t anything that we intended to impeach powers of Parliament in anyway and it isn’t possible that we can do that. If our submissions came out in any way to suggest that, we apologize for that.”

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