Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Officials from Ministry of Health have failed to account for 9.6 billion shillings they disbursed to National Medical Stores (NMS). The funds were meant to procure uniforms for health workers, beddings, productive gears and other items.
The Ministry officials led by Permanent Secretary Diana Atwine and the Under-Secretary Segawa Gyavira on Friday appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to respond to the audit queries.
The matter stems from two Auditor General Reports for financial year ending June 2017 and financial year ending June 2018. In the June 2017 report, 4.6 billion shillings was disbursed to NMS and another 5 billion Shillings sent according to the June 2018 report to procure the items.
Auditor General John Muwanga in the June 2018 report indicates that an examination of vouchers revealed that the Health Ministry disbursed a total of 5 billion to NMS to cater for the procurement of uniforms, beddings and productive gears (3 billion) and printing, stationery, photocopying and binding (2 billion).
Muwanga said that this was done under the Ministry’s approved Funds for Monitoring, Supervision and Evaluation of Health Systems under project 1027 for Institutional Support to Ministry of Health.
“The funds had not been accounted for by the close of the year. In the absence of the required supporting documentation, audit was unable to confirm the authenticity and validity of the expenditure,” reads Muwanga’s report.
He further reveals that despite an explanation that NMS was to acknowledge funds, issue receipts and also upon procurement and distribution provide details of delivered items and recipient facilities, none of these were in place at the time of audit.
PAC Chairperson Nathan Nandala Mafabi tasked the Health Ministry Under-Secretary Gyavira to explain whether there is any agreement with NMS concerning the procurement and delivery of uniforms, beddings and productive gears.
Gyavira revealed that there was no agreement but that their understanding was for NMS to use its procurement system to deliver the items and offer them accountability.
Tororo South MP Fredrick Angura faulted the Health Ministry for availing money to NMS without any clear procurement plan and agreement. Angura said that the Ministry’s actions surrendered their accountability role for funds appropriated by parliament something that he said cannot be tolerated.
Further tasked by Nandala on the procurement plan for the items, Gyavira apologized saying that the purchase has not been included in the Health Ministry procurement plan.
PAC is now set to engage National Medical Stores (NMS) in regard to accountability for the funds.