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Justice Ministry officials grilled over unspent UGX 448.7m

FILE PHOTO: PAC

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Officials from the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ministry have failed to justify the return of 448.7 million shillings to the Consolidated Fund at the close of the financial year 2017/2018.

The officials led by Solicitor General Francis Atoke were on Thursday appearing before the Public Accounts Committee to account for funds availed during the financial year as well as answer audit queries raised by the auditor general in his report for the financial year ending June 2018.

PAC chairperson Nathan Nandala Mafabi questioned the officials why they failed to fully utilize funds availed during the financial year. According to the Ministry’s statement of accounts, out of the accessed 147 billion Shillings, the Ministry did not spend 448.7 million Shillings.

James Oundo, the Ministry’s Principal Accountant explained that the entity had entered into a contract for supply of a vehicle to one of the political heads but that the supplier who he did not reveal breached the contract forcing the ministry to return the funds.

Oundo’s answer did not convince Kashari South MP Wilberforce Yaguma who accused the Ministry of mismanagement of the contract.

But Solicitor General Atoke said that it was not a matter of mismanagement but rather failure by one of the parties to fulfill their bargain.

MPs James Waluswaka representing Bunyole West and Maruzi County Maxwell Akora further demanded to know the company that had been contracted to supply the vehicle and its specifics. Akora further demanded to know the terms of payment that were to be applied.

Atoke revealed that the vehicle was a Mercedes Benz ML 3000cc. He said that the payment was supposed to be undertaken through a Stanbic Bank guarantee to Spear Motors which failed to deliver on the agreed time and funds returned to the Consolidated Fund. PAC also learned the vehicle was meant for the Attorney General.

PAC Chairperson Nathan Nandala Mafabi directed the Solicitor General to avail his ministry with the contract and evidence of the bank guarantee as well as documents pertaining the procurement of the service provider.

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