Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Members of Parliament on the Public Accounts Committee have resolved to hold the University Secretary of Lira University liable for failure to remit over shillings 30 million in taxes.
Augustine Oyang-Atubo–accounting officer on Tuesday appeared before the committee with a team of officials from the University including the University deputy bursar Francis Adrapi to respond to queries in the auditor general’s report for the 2018/2019 financial year.
According to the Auditor General, the University did not remit Pay as You Earn tax (PAYE) of Shillings 31.73 million deducted from the payment of housing and top-up allowances of Shillings 105.79 million. He noted that this failure attracts fines and penalties which may impact negatively on service delivery by the University.
Mbarara Municipality MP Michael Tusiime argued that as a statutory obligation that takes priority, there cannot be arrears on salary payments unless the salary was not paid. He put the bursar to the task to explain where the PAYE deductions were spent if they were not remitted.
He reminded the accounting officer of the penalties in the income tax act for not remitting statutory deductions. Tusiime rejected an explanation from the Adrapi which indicated that the University was not given enough disbursements from Non-Tax Revenue (NTR) of Shillings 152 million which it had remitted to the treasury and hence it was not able to take care of its statutory obligations.
Tusiime pointed out that the disbursements every quarter are based on remission of NTR to the Consolidated Fund and as such the university did not receive disbursements because it did not remit money.
Adrapi, however admitted that the money was deducted but not remitted.
Kole South MP Ocen Peter was convinced that the University was concealing information regarding where the unremitted taxes ended up. He believes it was spent by the University to fill a funding gap and as such the bursar should be held responsible.
PAC vice chairperson Okin Ojara noted that the money has to be recovered from the University Secretary and the bursar. Tusiime added that even the penal tax for failure to remit must be deducted from the accounting officer.
Ojara noted that the University officials will be notified through the committee clerk on the next course of action regarding the matter.
The University officials also came under fire for an unauthorized expenditure of Shillings 359 million on domestic arrears. According to the financial statements of the University, Shillings 84 million was allocated towards payment of arrears, however, Tusiime noted that the cash flow statement for the year in question indicated an amount of 443 million paid during the year in question.
He has demanded that the University present an explanation to the committee on which budget items were affected by this unauthorized expenditure and also provide authorization from the finance ministry for the expenditure.