The Minister of Science, Technology
and Innovation, Dr. Monica Musenero says that the Presidential Scientific Initiative
on Epidemics-PRESIDE does not handle any Covid-19 fund disbursements to scientists
or purchase of equipment.
Musenero made the statement in
response to parliament's investigation that she is facing over the alleged management
of 31 billion Shillings appropriated for the vaccine development process.
The Select Committee was among others
tasked by the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among to seek accountability
for the funds following documentary evidence tabled before Parliament by
Ntungamo Municipality MP Yona Musinguzi seeking to implicate Dr. Musenero regarding
the utilization of funds meant to facilitate the COVID-19 vaccine development.
Musinguzi demanded accountability for
funds so far released towards the development of a vaccine under the
Presidential Scientific Initiative on Epidemics-PRESIDE, a brainchild of
President Yoweri Museveni led by Dr. Musenero, who was a Presidential Advisor
on Epidemics at the time it was unveiled.
“From the onset, I would like to state
that PRESIDE does not handle the Covid-19 fund disbursements to scientists or
purchase of equipment. The PRESIDE secretariat does not have or operate any
account in any bank,” says Musenero.
This was in response to the acting
Chairperson of the Select Committee, Tony Awany who tasked Minister Musenero to
provide accountability for the 31 billion Shillings that was provided to
different scientists under her coordination to research and ultimately develop
a Covid-19 vaccine.
statements by the former Permanent Secretary Ministry of Science and
Technology, David OO Obong who told the Select Committee recently that it was
the Musenero's responsibility to account for the funds as per the Memorandum of
Understanding (MoU) they signed.
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Musenero said that the Covid-19 fund as passed by parliament in a supplementary
budget is handled by two accounting officers including the Permanent Secretary
of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation and the State House
Musenero, this is in accordance with guidance by Secretary to Treasury in a
letter dated 4th August 2020.
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She noted that the
letter specified that a total of 31.03 billion Shillings would be provided in
the financial year 2020/2021 for scientists under coordination by her, of which
15.78 billion is for procurement of equipment and 15.24 billion is for
“It was further
agreed that expenditure limits equivalent to Shillings 23 billion be provided
in the first quarter for this purpose. The financial support for the
secretariat on coordination for scientists will be budgeted for under State
House,” Musenero further read out the letter.
Regarding the MoU
on the management of funds presented to the committee by the former Permanent
Secretary Obong, Musenero said that the document under section 4.5 clearly
states that the Ministry shall manage the funding and provide reports and
accountability as provided for in the Public Finance Management Act and the
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Kabanda the Butambala Woman MP put it to the Minister that under the same MoU,
PRESIDE was supposed to account to the Ministry for all money advanced to scientists
as required under the relevant laws in Uganda.
“Was that in vain?”
Musenero then said
that this particular statement has been quoted in error because it was
referring to funds given by the Ministry to PRESIDE directly.
“The Ministry did
not transfer any funds to PRESIDE, the money given to the institution is given
to the institutions but in case the Ministry transfers money to us as PRESIDE,
then we account for it,” said Musenero.
MP Awany and
Kabanda further tasked the Minister to carefully read the memorandum she signed
and respond accordingly. But Musenero said that if the Permanent Secretary had
not been satisfied with the management of funds provided to scientists, why
would he go ahead to request for more funds from the Ministry of Finance to
give to scientists?
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said that scientists had even accounted for the funds to the Auditor General. MP Awany then tasked Minister
Musenero to provide then with the same accountability provided by the Auditor
The Minister also
denied the allegation that her husband was also involved in the activities of
PRESIDE saying that her husband has never been involved in any health related