Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT & URN | Despite a report by the Inspector General of Government (IGG) stating all procurement procedures were followed and no money was lost, the Public Accounts Committee-PAC has recommended a forensic audit on the National Medical Stores to establish the supply of uniforms worth sh13.35 billion.
The recommendation is in the committee report on the findings of the Auditor-General on the health sector for the financial years 2016/2017 to 2019/2020.
“The Committee recommends that Ministry of Health should procure their uniforms as they used to do before they contracted National Medical Stores to deliver uniforms on their behalf,” states part of the committee report read out by Nathan Nandala Mafabi, the PAC chairperson in parliament today.
However, while Mafabi claimed the uniforms had been bought at sh153,000 per piece as opposed to sh101,000, the IGG reported earlier that there was no wrongdoing on part of NMS having noted that there was no inflation of prices and that the NMS, acting on behalf of the Ministry, duly procured and distributed the uniforms for both male and female members of the Allied Professional Workers at a reserve price of sh95,000.
NMS had actually leveraged the assignment to implement the requirements dictated under the BuBu policy by procuring the uniforms in question from M/s Southern Range Nyanza Ltd (Nytil), a Ugandan local company based in Jinja, contracted to the supply of uniforms and medical forms for 3 years.
“There was no evidence obtained to suggest that the unit price for the uniforms was inflated. M/s Nytil Ltd was the sole bidder and had been supplying uniforms to NMS before the FY2016/17 and the unit price which the company was contracted for the supply of the uniforms was lower than NMS’s reserve price,” the IGG report, on the same subject, read in part.
Speaking in parliament today, Sarah Opendi, the former State Minister of Health-General Duties had also added that it would not be right for the procurement of uniforms to revert to the Ministry of Health saying that there are bigger challenges with the procurement process.
The Mafabi allegations
The IGG report clearing NMS did not however deter Nathan Nandala Mafabi, the PAC chairperson telling parliament that a deposit account was never opened for the money to procure uniform contrary to the treasury instructions governing one entity performing financial functions on behalf of another.
Mafabi argued that NMS does not manufacture uniforms and the reason to contract them defeats the purpose. He claimed that the uniforms were never delivered on time and if delivered, they were not the right quality, quantity, size and wrong distribution.
“The uniforms supplied by NMS were overpriced as compared to the market prices. The prices charged by National Medical Stores was 153,360 Shillings plus 8 percent delivery charges per uniform and total cost by National Medical Stores was 165,629 Shillings yet when the Ministry conducted its procurement process, it paid 101,000 Shillings from the same supplier, Nytil,” he told parliament.
He told parliament that all the funds deposited by the Ministry of Health to NMS were diverted as follows and that by 30th June 2019, the Ministry of Health had deposited 13.3 billion Shillings and yet deliveries were worth 8.37 Billion Shillings.
According to Nandala, the claimed deliveries of 8.37 billion could not be verified by the Internal Auditor General because there is no accountability and 4.97 billion was unaccounted for by NMS by 30th June 2019.
He says that complaints of no uniform, wrong sizes, wrong colours were common in hospitals and units.
Agnes Taaka, the Bugiri Woman MP said that NMS should be one of the first government entities to be merged given the inefficiencies established in the procurement process.
Michael Timuzigu, the Kajara County MP said that the observations indicate serious corruption in the country that needs to be fought seriously.