Legislators on the Public Accounts of Parliament (PAC) have tasked the Judiciary Permanent Secretary Kagole Kivumbi to justify his absence from a meeting with the MPs on Tuesday.
Kagole was a no show on Tuesday when the committee chaired by Hon. Nandala Mafabi had summoned him to explain some queries from the Auditor General report. This morning, the troubled PS told the committee that he missed the planned meeting because of a health emergency.
Kagole told angry MPs that he was sick. "I most sincerely regret my absence in this committee. I had a surgery on my eye and the post-surgery was on Monday. Yesterday I had an emergency but I remain at your disposal to answer audit queries," Kagole said as today’s session was starting.
But committee members were not convinced by the explanation, with the Kwania County MP Tony Ayo faulting Kagole for failing to make a formal communication to the committee, before skipping the meeting. Ayo demanded that Kagole presents medical forms to prove his statement.
Butemba County MP Pentagon Kamusiime said while pushing for proof, that they needed confirmation that the PS had a medical emergency, warning that he should not present falsified documents because legislators would go ahead and check hospital records.
Nathan Nandala Mafabi, the Committee Chairman asked Kagole to place a phone call to his home for the documents to be delivered. This however did not go down well with Kagole who said that no one could access his room apart from him and the wife who was not at home.
This prompted the MPs to direct officers from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) attached to the committee to escort Kagole to his home to pick the documents regarding his eye defect before today's planned meeting takes off. The committee meeting was suspended for an hour, to allow Kagole time, to present the required document.
Trouble for Kagole started after a whistleblower’s petition on suspected collusion to embezzle 34 billion Shillings from the Judiciary. The expenses were also queried by the Auditor General as money mischarged.
The accountability document indicates that some of the funds had been wired to individual accounts of different Judiciary officers and Justices for reasons including office operational funds, payment of tuition, and medical fees, among others.
Kagole says the money was spent on Court operational funds, mediation costs, Court sessions, imprest, locus visits, HIV medical allowances and expenditure for Monitoring and Evaluation since these items have no direct budget lines.