OPM iron sheets saga: Finance minister Kasaija denies asking for them, doesn’t know how the iron sheets found themselves in his compound

By Our Reporter

Parliament – The Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development Matia Kasaija has distanced himself from allegations that he diverted iron sheets meant for vulnerable people in Karamoja sub-region.

Kasaija made the remarks on Wednesday while appearing before the Presidential Affairs Committee (PAD) of the Parliament.

Kasaija and other senior government officials are being summoned by the committee following a petition by Members of Parliament (MPs) from the Karamoja Sub-region to Parliament, who asked for a forensic audit on both the procurement and distribution of relief items in the ministry for Karamoja Affairs.

Appearing before the committee, Kasaija adamantly said he never applied for the iron sheets but rather received them as a donation from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM).

“I never applied for those iron sheets, never! I never asked; please give me! Someone brings and says Hon Kasaija, the OPM is donating the iron sheets for you…So, the next thing I see iron sheets have been delivered,” Kasaija told the Committee.

Kasaija, who doubles as the Buyanja MP, further explained that of the 750 iron sheets received, he donated 450 to a school in his constituency.

Kasaija added that he is still looking for who to give the remaining 300 iron sheets.

”The balance is still in my store in Kibaale and I’m looking for who should I give these. So, crucify me knowing that there’s an innocent man in this issue. I’m innocent. I never asked for iron sheets. The iron sheets found themselves in my compound,” the Minister said.

Asked what he will do with the remaining iron sheets now that he has been made aware that they were meant for Karamoja, the minister said he is ready to return them.

Kasaija and other ministers are being accused of fraudulent diverting relief items meant for the vulnerable communities. The items include 12,000 iron sheets, goats and foodstuff.

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