The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Co-operatives, Geraldine Ssali, has refuted reports claiming that the ministry spent Shs 400m on moving documents from its office in Kampala to its stores in Entebbe.
In a statement, Ssali clarified that the actual cost of the document transfer was Shs 59.3 million, which included various expenses such as disassembling furniture, packaging materials, truck hire, labor wages, and fuel. She expressed concern over the exaggerated figure and emphasized that the ministry did not spend Shs 400m as alleged.
The denial from Ssali comes in response to the parliamentary committee’s astonishment at the reported Shs 400m cost. Officials from the Ministry of Trade revealed during a committee sitting that such a substantial amount was indeed used for the document relocation.
However, Ssali did not attend the session, stating that she had already provided the necessary information. The committee also learned about the ministry’s expenditure of Shs 26m on delivering laptops worth Shs 160m to employees during the headquarters renovation, raising further questions about procurement and financial management.
Witness testimonies indicated that Ssali allegedly canceled the procurement process for new ministry vehicles and engaged in fraudulent practices by selecting an alternate supplier. The committee’s findings also revealed a diversion of Shs 5 billion from relocation funds to renovate the existing structure instead of the initially planned Shs 3.1 billion.
Committee members expressed concerns about the lack of information provided by the ministry engineer and lawyer defending Ssali’s decisions. The investigations into the ministry’s expenditures and procurement processes are ongoing.