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Nwoya district struggles to recover PDM funds diverted by civil servants

Launch of Parish Development Model (PDM) in Nwoya. File Photo

Nwoya, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Nwoya district is struggling to recover millions of shillings under the Parish Development Model (PDM) that were diverted by civil servants.

According to an investigation conducted last month, 208 million shillings was found to have been diverted by civil servants in the district for other activities outside the PDM program.

The diverted money is part of the 477.3 million shillings the district received from the government in the 2021/22 FY for the implementation of PDM in 44 parishes.

Out of this, 262.8 million shillings was meant for the Parish revolving fund, 44 Million shillings for Administrative costs, 49.8 million shillings for gadgets, and 120.6 million shillings for Parish Chiefs.

The Chief Administrative Officer Nwoya district, Gabriel Richard Atama in a September 13 letter to all district staff directed all officials who took PDM advances to refund the money by September 15.

“The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to direct you to refund all the funds that were advanced to you as indicated in the attached advance sheet for ease of reference. All funds should be paid to the district cashier and a receipt will be issued to confirm payment by the cashier, this should be done by close of business on Thursday, September 15,” Atama’s letter reads in part.

But Nwoya Resident District Commissioner Christopher Omara told Uganda Radio Network in an interview Thursday, that no major progress has been made. Omara says only 34 million shillings to date out of the 208 million shillings diverted has been recovered.

Omara also reveals that they have made new discoveries that although the district had declared only receiving 60 million shillings for salary payment of Parish chiefs, the government had initially sent 120 million shillings. He says they are now tasking the technical officials to account for the undisclosed 60 million shillings.

Atama however told URN that they have made some recoveries from some of the district officials but declined to reveal the amount saying it’s “confidential”.

“We have made some recoveries but not fully, I will communicate to the center (Central government) what we have done and reached. I however can’t reveal the amount we have recovered because it’s a confidential matter,” said Atama.

According to Atama, the money in question was diverted to undertake activities mainly on sensitization and data collection which were all expensive activities. He says the monies were released as advances to the respective officials at the time.

Those being accused of diverting the PDM fund include the former Nwoya Chief Administrative Officer and officials in the Finance and Administration Department.

The government launched the implementation of the Parish Development Model (PDM) in February this year, with a major goal to attain socioeconomic transformation based on improved productivity in households and enterprises at the parish level.

However, there have been concerns about the mismanagement of the fund by civil servants across the country with close to 2.2 billion shillings by end of September this year reportedly missing from 33 district local governments.

Last month, the Local Government Minister Raphael Magyezi revealed to URN that the government will start disbursing the parish Revolving fund under PDM directly to Sacco group accounts to curb fund mismanagement and diversion.

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