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Local gov’t ministry tasked to explain unauthorized expenditures

FILE PHOTO: PAC

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee has faulted the Ministry of Energy for spending more than 10 billion Shillings to clear domestic arrears, without authorization.

Questions were specifically raised on the expenditure of 10.54 billion Shillings on domestic arrears contrary to 2.4 billion Shillings that was approved in the sectors’ Budget.

The matter came up during a review of the Ministry’s Statement of Appropriation Accounts by the Public Accounts Committee this morning. A team of officials led by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Ben Kumumanya had appeared before the committee to answer audit queries for the financial year ended June 2018.

Committee chairperson Nathan Nandala Mafabi asked Kumumanya to explain the source of the extra 8.1 billion Shillings that was spent on domestic arrears.

Local Government Commissioner Wycliffe Mwambu told the committee that although they received an allocation of 2.4 billion Shillings, the ministry had an outstanding obligation to pay 3.5 billion Shillings for the vehicles that had been procured but not for paid in the previous financial year 2016/2017.

Mwambu said that another 4 billion Shillings had been paid on Value Added Tax (VAT) on projects.

Lwemiyaga County MP Theodore Ssekikubo raised a procedural issue saying that the committee could not use the Ministerial Policy Statement as evidence for accountability since the document only carried wishes for a particular entity but not money that was appropriated.

Permanent Secretary Ben Kumumanya said that the procurement of vehicles in financial year 2016/2017 was done under a multi-year procurement arrangement with other money supposed to be paid in the subsequent years. He said that the Ministry has the entire procurement documentation and that given time; it can be presented to PAC.

Kashari North MP Wilberforce Yaguma dismissed Kumumanya’s submission saying that the committee needs relevant explanations why the Ministry spent way above what appropriated budget.

Nandala insisted that the ministry avails his committee with the authority for spending more than what was approved and also explain where money was picked. Kumumanya asked for more time to give an explanation on the matter.

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