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MPs question donor funding of gov’t institutions

FILE PHOTO: Auditor General John Muwanga

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Members of Parliament on the Finance Committee have questioned officials from the Office of the Auditor General-OAG about funds from donors provided to government agencies.

Led by the Auditor General John Muwanga, officials from the Office of the Auditor General on Thursday appeared before the committee to present their 2019/2020 policy statement.

In their statement presented by Assistant Auditor General-Corporate Services, Francis Masuba, the OAG mentioned financial support received this financial year from four development partners including Financial Management and Accountability Programme III (FINMAP), European Union and German Cooperation (GIZ).

Masuba revealed that their office was given a budget of 11.15 billion shillings under FINMAP for financial year 2018/2019, to strengthen the physical and operational independence of OAG and for development of a Management Information System.

He explained that the physical independence and presence of the OAG across the country has been significantly boosted by the completion and commissioning of two additional regional offices in Hoima and Moroto and the re-construction of Arua regional office which is expected to be completed next year.

Masuba also explained funding from German Cooperation (GIZ) whose overall goal is to promote accountability and transparency.

MPs also learnt of another 5 billion shillings received from the European Union (EU) to support the audit of Karuma and Isimba hydropower projects, clearing of audit backlogs in Local Governments (2.31 billion shillings), undertaking 5 forensic investigations (77.6 million shillings), training and capacity building (19 million shillings).

He said that the donor funds from FINMAP and EU are budgeted for under Ministry of Finance and allocated to the OAG.

Henry Musasizi, the Finance Committee Chairperson questioned why the donors were interested in funding audits of key projects like Karuma and Isimba dams. He also asked how the Office of the Auditor General sourced the funding.

Mitooma Woman MP Jovah Kamateeka also questioned the funding of audits by donors asking whether they were grants or the government was expected to pay back.

Masuba explained that the funds are planned and budgeted for under the Ministry of Finance and that the funded activities are earmarked by the donors as their areas of interest.

Asked by Musasizi whether the Office of the Auditor General is aware of donor funds received by different government agencies outside the appropriated budget and never declared, James Bantu, the Director of Audit- Forensic Investigations and IT Audits cited Makerere University as one of the institutions.

“Yes especially for educational institutions and the special audit of the finances of Makerere University revealed that there were donor funds that were not being approved by Parliament. We found that a bulk of these funds were not being reported and audited,” said Bantu.

Musasizi asked Muwanga to provide Parliament with a list of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that have been receiving donor funds outside the National Budget, and never declared the funds for purposes of audit.

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