A fight has erupted between the finance minister, Matia Kasaija and his Health counterpart, Jane Ruth Aceng over the $26 million ( Shs 96 billion) Global Fund Project, the Nile Post has learnt.
In a March 22, 2019 letter, Kasaija wrote to Dr. Saman Zamani, the Global Fund portfolio Manager asking him not to cancel an order to Access Bio, a United States based company contracted to supply malaria Rapid Diagnostic Tests, a deal funded by the Global Fund.
“It has been brought to my attention that the Global Fund intends to cancel an order that the pooled Procurement and partnership for Supply Chain Management processes independently awarded to Access Bio due to the request from the principle recipient,”Kasaija wrote.
The principle recipient in this matter is the Health Ministry headed by Jane Ruth Aceng.
In his communication, the Finance Minister told the Global Fund official that the matter was being handled after the US based company complained to President Museveni over what they termed as interference.
“This is to let you know that consultation are going on and accordingly advise you to stay the execution of any instructions until a decision has been communicated to you formally.”
In their earlier complaint, Access Bio told President Museveni that despite shifting their factory from Ethiopia to Uganda and had signed Memorandums of Association with government for production of malaria, TB ,HIV, Cancer and other infectious diseases,, the project is being threatened by some government officials.
“This investment is being threatened and has met some level of frustration and sabotage from Hon Aceng Jane. The reason for her sabotage is that she is supporting a rival company, called Abbott Ltd that is only interested in selling its equipment and reagents to Uganda all of which are manufactured off-shore and only sold here,” Access Bio’s chairman, Young Choi wrote to Museveni.
The American company asked Museveni to talk to the Global Fund in a bid to cancel the Health Minister’s instruction to cancel their contract.
In another letter by Kasaija, five days later, the Finance Minister wrote to Global Fund asking them to ignore any other orders from the Health Minister and go ahead with the earlier order made to the US based company, Access Bio.
“In the view of the above, the country confirms that you should continue and execute the orders as per our earlier written instructions,”Kasaija wrote to Global Fund.
When contacted for a comment on the matter, minister of Health Jane Ruth Aceng denied any sabotage to Access Bio as alleged but said she is a victim of jealousy especially from her junior minister, Sarah Opendi.
“I am a victim of negative jealous because of my clear principles of transparency and zero tolerance to corruption,”Aceng told The Nile Post.
“The people doing that led by Minister of State Sarah Opendi have their own issues. Let her show you evidence of sabotaging anything as alleged.”
The senior health minister insisted she has never authored any letter or communication threatening the deal by Access Bio.