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PAC queries unspent Sh5 billion pension cash in education ministry

PAC meets officials from the Education ministry. Courtesy photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Members of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament have been alarmed by a total of 5.8 billion Shillings meant for payment of pensions in the Education Ministry that was never disbursed to the beneficiaries.

The funds were appropriated in the financial year ending June 2019 to pay 425 pensioners but according to the auditor general’s report, cash was returned to the consolidated fund.

MPs expressed concern about the matter while meeting officials from the ministry on Friday led by the permanent secretary Alex Kakooza to respond to queries in the report.

The auditor general recorded a total of unspent balances amounting to Shillings 13 Bn that were swept back to the consolidated fund at the end of the financial year.

Nandala Mafabi was furious as to why the ministry let frail and old pensioners suffer without their benefits.

Kakooza explained that the 425 pensioners were never paid due to unvalidated records, invalid or inactive supplier numbers, lack of life certificates and survivor benefits exceeding 15 years.

The Commissioner Human Resource Jane K Mwesigwa labored to explain that the ministry had carried out a verification exercise on the 425 beneficiaries and only 35 were validated and reinstated on the payroll. She insisted that the ministry had saved government from loss of funds.

But Nandala quizzed her on why the ministry had budgeted for the funds with the knowledge that the beneficiaries had queries. He raised a suspicion that the beneficiaries could have been ghost pensioners.

Kakooza explained that the list had been inherited from public service when paying of pensioners was decentralized in 2016/2017, so the ministry had to carry out its own validation exercise.

One of the other items for which funds were never spent was the National High Altitude Training Center for which 4.1 billion Shillings was returned.

Kakooza argued that the funds could not be effectively absorbed because of the slow progress of works caused by adverse wet weather and bad road conditions which hindered transportation of the necessary project materials to the site to facilitate smooth implementation of the work.



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