ICT Minister Faces Inquiry Over 150 Million US Dollars Computer Deal in Uganda
In a Parliamentary session last Monday MPs gave junior ICT Minister John Alintuma Nsambu two weeks to explain reports that he was using his post to promote personal business. Nsambu is accused of using his position to strike a personal computer business deal worth at least $150 million (about Shs243 billion).
Erute South MP John Odit who opened the lid on the issue, pushed Mr Nsambu to explain why he was using his position to trade with an American company named Tropix under the guise of offering a government service to civil servants.
"Madam Speaker, we cannot allow this because this minister committed the government to a tune of $150 million without authority because he wanted to make money," Odit said. Although the statement was directed to Dr Ham Muliira, the senior ICT Minister insisted that Nsambu should explain as he was deeply involved in the project.
Nsambu has been spearheading a drive for civil servants to acquire computers on lease arrangement and officials who acquire the laptops have their salaries deducted until they have paid the full sum. The laptops, are however, said to be valued a little below commercial rates.
Nsambu, conceded that he was running a $150 million computer project with an American investor. "These laptops don't belong to government but as a state minister, my mandate allows me to promote ICT and this is what I am doing," Mr Nsambu said.
MPs heard that Nsambu crafted the multi-billion shilling computer deal with the American firm and that the minister's firm would recoup its investment through selling laptops to civil servants.
But his submission provoked intense criticism with Dr Muliira insisting Nsambu combined the ministry with his business as some MPs suggested the Deputy Speaker gives him two weeks to present a statement to Parliament on the matter.