President Yoweri Museveni has ordered the immediate reinstatement of Geraldine Ssali, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Trade, as the Ministry’s Accounting Officer.
The directive is issued in an October 26th letter by the head of Public Service and secretary to Cabinet Lucy Nakyobe to the Secretary to the Treasury, Ramadhan Ggoobi.
In her communication, Nakyobe makes reference to the President’s letter dated October 22 regarding the same matter.
“This is to request you to immediately reinstate Ms Geraldine Ssali Busuulwa as the Accounting Officer for Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives as per the president’s directive,” the letter reads in part.
In October, 2023, the Secretary to the Treasury, Ramathan Ggoobi, suspended Ssali as the Ministry’s accounting officer on the recommendations of a Parliament inquiry into alleged acts of corruption at the Ministry.
In his letter dated October 3 2023, Ggoobi quoted the recommendation by the parliamentary probe committee that asked his office to exercise his authority under the Public Finance Management Act to withdraw the appointment and designation of Geraldine Ssali as an Accounting Officer over her alleged involvement in illegal and deliberate fraudulent practices that have cost the government a staggering 8 billion Shillings.
“The purpose of this letter therefore is to request you as the supervising Political head of the Ministry to nominate a suitable officer, for my appointment, to execute the duties of the Accounting Officer, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Co-operatives as allegations against Ms. Geraldine Ssali and others are being investigated,” Ggoobi said.
The committee called for Ssali’s removal from the role of accounting officer, citing abuse of office, causing financial loss, negligence of duty, and other charges, and the report was adopted by parliament in August.
They found that Ssali failed to control and ensure the proper use of money appropriated to the vote for procurement of renovation works on the ministry’s offices at Farmers House.
It recommended that ministry officials including Tom Opio, Daniel Kalule, Deo Byaruhanga and Rosemary Asiimwe, be investigated by the Inspectorate of Government (IG) and the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP), in accordance with the Anti-Corruption Act, 2009.
The MPs also recommended possible prosecution of Ssali over abuse of her authority.