By Ohenenana Kofinipa
The lucrative job of a top official of the Ugandan Ministry of Health is on the line per President Yoweri Museveni’s fiat.
Mr Frank Mugisha Kasaka, head of procurement, allegedly asked a well-connected foreign investor for an upfront 20 percent bribe of the total project he was handling for him “in order to finalize the procurement processes”.
May be Kasaka is a past master in this type of game. What he possibly did not know is that the investor, Enrica Pinetti, chairman of Finasi, an Italian company, has the ear of President Museveni who personally head hunted him.
Following a Pinetti complaint, President Yoweri Museveni has directed Dr. Asuman Lukwago, the permanent secretary in the Ministry to dismiss Kasaka, the head of procurement for allegedly asking for a bribe from an investor.
Finasi, founded in the early 1970s is an importer/exporter and primary goods trader in the Middle East and Africa. It has innovated and developed specific know-how in the healthcare, oil & gas, interiors and organic food fields delivering value-added services to its clients.
Following a meeting between President Museveni, health ministry officials and the investors at State House in Entebbe, the President directed that Mugisha be removed with immediate effect and be replaced with a devoted civil servant who cannot steal.
‘‘How can you keep a thief in the Ministry? And how are you going to counsel a thief? A thief is a thief. He should be removed,’’ Museveni reportedly ordered.
The President pointed out that the coming of Finasi to Uganda was at his request to build a first class hospital that would deal with complicated problems such as kidney and heart operations.
“I requested them to come to Uganda to deal with kidney and heart problems so that we stop people from going to India for treatment,’’ he said.
President Museveni also directed the Ministry to iron out its differences with the investor in two weeks and pave the way for the project.
According to Health Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, Mugisha formerly worked with the Ministry of Agriculture before being transferred to the Health Ministry nine months ago.