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Missing: Cars Bought for Pope Francis’ Visit Disappear

Pope Francis
Pope Francis

The whereabouts of the two cars used by Pope Francis during his visit to Uganda in November of 2015 are unknown, parliament and the auditor general’s report reveal.

Two cars were bought for Pope Francis to travel while in Uganda: a Kia Soul Hatchback and a Mitsubishi L200 pickup truck.

The Kia Soul Hatchback cost about Shs 135m while the Mitsubishi L200 pickup truck cost about Shs 190m.

Yet three years after the pope left Uganda, parliament has raised a red flag on the whereabouts of the cars, following a report by the auditor general, John Muwanga.

Acting secretary in the office of the president Willis Bashasha appeared before the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament on Thursday to respond to Muwanga’s FY 2015/2016 report on the matter.

“Shs 322.2 million was transferred to the ministry of Works for the procurement of Papal vehicles in November 2015, a review of the ministry assets register did not have the said cars, an indication that the Office of the President does not own the said vehicles,” wrote Muwanga in his report.

MPs grilled Bashasha, also the former Bushenyi District Chairperson, on the disappearance of the cars.

Ntungamo Municipality MP Gerald Karuhanga even asked Bashasha:  “Did you eat them [the cars]?”

In response, Bashasha, also the director manifesto implementation for the ruling NRM party, said the cars had been parked at the ministry of Works, not at State House or any other presidential office.

Bashasha added that the cars are being used by the office of the president.

Pope Francis is expected in Uganda in 2018.

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