December 1, 2009

Mawaziri na Makatibu Wakuu kunywanganywa Blackberry.

MPs on the public accounts committee yesterday ordered that ministers, permanent secretaries and MPs who got Black-Berry phones for use during the Commonwealth meeting in 2007 either pay for them or return them.

Meeting officials from the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology over the CHOGM expenditure, the MPs wondered why the ministry purchased 450 Black-Berry phones at a cost of over sh500m and distributed them free of charge.

The ministry’s permanent secretary, Jimmy Samanya, said the phone recipients included directors in several ministries, commissioners and chairpersons of parliamentary committees.

After CHOGM, he explained, the ministry debated whether to withdraw the phones but the decision was pending so he could not act. Now that the committee has directed, he said, he would seek payment or withdraw them.

But the MPs expressed concern that some officials could have sold off the phones while others may have been dropped from service or moved to new offices.

“Didn’t you think you were violating Government laws by buying equipment and donating it?” asked the lead counsel, Tom Kazibwe (NRM).

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