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Parliament makes U-turn on Kaboyo’s ministerial appointment

Alice Kaboyo has been approved as Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister for Luwero Triangle-Rwenzori region. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Appointments Committee of Parliament has backtracked on its earlier position and approved the appointment of Alice Kaboyo, as Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister for Luwero Triangle-Rwenzori region.

According to sources, the committee chaired by the Deputy Speaker Anita Among, 22 legislators from the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party voted in favour of Kaboyo’s approval, four opposition MPs rejected the nomination while one abstained.

The sources indicate that the committee received a request from the president to reconsider its earlier position declining to approve Kaboyo. The Constitution mandates Parliament through its Appointments Committee to scrutinize all presidential appointees to public offices.

On June 16, 2021, the Appointments Committee rejected the appointment of the former State House aide because of her conviction by the Anti-corruption committee in June 2012, after pleading guilty in a corruption scandal connected to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) case.

Kaboyo, who was jointly charged together with three former health ministers, Jim Muhwezi, his deputies Mike Mukula and Dr. Alex Kamugisha, was sentenced to a fine of 20 million Shillings or an eight prison jail term. She chose to pay the Shillings 20 million fine.

Represented by the late Bob Kasango, Kaboyo pleaded guilty to two counts of abuse of office and writing documents in the name of the former private principal presidential secretary, Amelia Kyambadde. Court heard that Kaboyo had already returned Shillings 250 million out of the Shillings 524 million that was allegedly advanced to her to prepare advocacy conferences.

The court records showed that Kaboyo received GAVI funds long after resigning her post. As a result, the presiding magistrate, Irene Akankwasa sentenced Kaboyo to pay Shillings 5 million for each of the four counts or serve a prison term of two years for each count.

“This seemingly light sentence is justified because A4, now a convict has not wasted the court’s time. In the case of default to pay the said sum, the convict will serve the sentences concurrently,” said Akankwasa. The Anti-Corruption Act prohibits someone to serve in a public office for a period of 10 years upon conviction.

This is the provision that the committee had earlier on based on to reject Kaboyo’s ministerial appointment. Sources say that in his appeal to the committee, President Museveni assured the members that Kaboyo was remorseful and paid the fines imposed by the court. However, a section of opposition legislators questioned the legality of Kaboyo’s appointment given that the law still bars her from holding a public office.

Nevertheless, the opposition legislators could not carry the day when the speaker put the matter to a vote as the majority of the legislators voted in favour of Kaboyo’s approval. The committee also approved Muruli Mukasa as Minister of Public Service and John Mulimba as the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (Regional).

The two who interacted with the committee via zoom missed the earlier vetting process because they were indisposed. They now await swearing into their offices.



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