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How PS Geraldine Ssali Attacked Female Ministry Lawyer, Anena

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 Ministry Lawyer, Anena

“It’s at that point when the lawyer told Ssali that she had heard her orders and was moving out. Immediately, Ssali told her bodyguard to throw the lawyer out. The armed man pounced on the lawyer roughly and dragged her towards the corridor. It’s at this point that Ssali hit the lawyer and started to throw out books, files and even a flask that actually belonged to another officer”

More shocking details have emerged about the clash between Trade Ministry Permanent Secretary, Geraldine Ssali and the Ministry’s legal officer, Sandra Anena Karen.

Anena this past weekend dragged Ssali to Kampala Central Police Station for slapping her, blowing the lid off a simmering crisis at the Trade Ministry.

The incident occurred on April 5, 2024 at the third floor of the Ministry’s offices at Farmers’ House in Kampala.

Ssali later interdicted Anena, accusing her of “gross unbecoming behaviour such as using abusive language against me, assaulting, threatening me, throwing items at me and insubordination which is irregular for a public officer of your calibre.

An investigation by ChimpReports has established that it all started when Aneno refused to cover up suspicious transactions that Ssali was reportedly involved in as soon as she arrived at the Ministry.

Ssali constituted a new procurement team composed of Aneno’s Junior, David Mutegeki, who reportedly reported Aneno’s every move to Ssali to gain favours, leading to cliques and intrigue.

During the Parliamentary probe into alleged financial misappropriation of supplementary funds by the Trade Ministry for the financial year 2021/22, Anena told the Committee that Ssali preferred the services of Mutegeki.

The Parliament Committee had established that Shs 8bn for rent of new office premises was instead utilised for renovation of office premises for the Ministry at Farmer’s House as opposed to the purpose for which the same Ministry had requested for the supplementary.

Sandra Anena
The House committee also discovered that the draft contract for renovation works at Farmer’s House was witnessed by Mutegeki instead of the senior lawyer, Anena.

MPs wondered why Ssali was sidelining Anena.

According to officials briefed about the chaos at the Ministry of Trade, Ssali reportedly denied Anena allowances, fuel and always made remarks in senior management meetings that bordered on provocation.

Staff at the Ministry suspects Ssali has been trying to find a way  of getting this senior lawyer out of her way.

Hell breaks loose 

On April 4, the head of Human Resource, Lydia Aliwonya, informed Anena that the legal department needed to move to create space for the new State Minister of Trade, General Wilson Mbadi.

Anena told Aliwonya that she would temporarily move to join other colleagues such as Julius Kasirye whose office had some space .

Aliwonya didn’t object.

The following morning of April, 5, Anena had several meetings with the ministers and immediately after looked for Kasirye and shifted to his office.

Later, Anena approached the painters who were placing Mbadi’s furniture in the corridor and asked them to use her office instead.

According to an eyewitness, shortly after Anena occupied the new office, a visibly furious Ssali, who was followed closely by her armed male bodyguard, stormed the office ordering the senior lawyer to vacate it in the next one hour because she (Ssali) needed the office.

“As Anena was preparing to leave, the charged up Ssali started screaming at her, asking why she was not answering,” recalled an eyewitness.

“It’s at that point when the lawyer told Ssali that she had heard her orders and was moving out. Immediately, Ssali told her bodyguard to throw the lawyer out. The armed man pounced on the lawyer roughly and dragged her towards the corridor. It’s at this point that Ssali hit the lawyer and started to throw out books, files and even a flask that actually belonged to another officer.”

Staff had by now gathered in the corridors and witnessed this scandal – most of whom later recorded statements to the police.

At this point, the bodyguards of the new minister intervened to actually save Aneno from the manhandling by the armed bodyguard.

Aneno was taken to a small room and counselled to calm down.

Hon Mbadi never appeared at the office that day.

The developments have raised fears about the ability of the Ministry to execute its mandate.

Trouble at the ministry

Staff at the Ministry quietly accuse Ssali of high-handedness and ‘cliquesim.’

In October, 2023, the Secretary to the Treasury, Ramathan Ggoobi, suspended Ssali as the Ministry’s accounting officer on the recommendations of a Parliament inquiry into alleged acts of corruption at the Ministry.

Parliament had accused Ssali of failing to control the regularity and proper use of money appropriated to the vote for procurement of renovation works on offices used by the Ministry at Farmer’s House.

The House’s Trade Committee also accused Ssali  of inflating the price of renovation works by Shs2 billion.

During the committee meeting held on July, 3 2023, Hon. Mwine Mpaka disclosed that the ministry had committed the government to a multi-year expenditure of Shs6 billion without obtaining authorization from Parliament, which he said is a violation of the Public Finance Management Act.

The meeting also revealed that the rehabilitation contract was awarded through direct procurement, bypassing necessary due diligence procedures.

Mpaka highlighted discrepancies in the cost of the renovation project where the initial estimate from the Ministry of Works was Shs3.1 billion, but this was later inflated to Shs6.2 billion, suggesting potential misconduct in fund allocation.

However, President Museveni ordered the reinstatement of Ssali as the Accounting Officer of the Ministry of Trade.

Lucy Nakyobe, the Head of Public Service and Secretary to Cabinet, on October 26, 2023, wrote to Ggoobi asking him to “immediately reinstate” Ssali as the Accounting Officer for the Trade Ministry “as per the president’s directive.”

Source: ChimpReports

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