Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Parliament’s Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises – COSASE has started inquiries on how 124.367 billion Shillings was diverted by the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) to finance other road activities that were not planned for.
According to the Auditor General’s report for the financial year 2020/2021, the diverted funds were meant for 27 road projects. The Auditor General noted UNRA diverted 1.812 billion Shillings of the 3.885 billion Shillings for the upgrading of the 104km Atiak-Moyo-Afoji road.
Other funds diverted were 14.317 billion Shillings of the 16.335 billion Shillings that were released for the improvement of ferry services. It also diverted 5.552 billion Shillings for the 191km upgrade project of the Rwenkunye-Apac-Lira-Acholibur road. UNRA also mischarged 22.563 billion Shillings meant for the design of the 72km Mukono-Katosi-Nyenga Road.
Ferigo Kambale, the Kasese Municipality Member of Parliament tasked Allen Kagina, the UNRA Executive Director to explain why the authority diverted the funds to unauthorized projects yet the Public Finance Act gives the line Minister the authority to approve only a 10 percent transfer of funds.
Kagina told MPs that while UNRA sought permission from the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to be allowed to reallocate the 10 percent, the funds were exhausted. She admitted that UNRA flouted the law to avoid the accumulation of interest on slow projects.
The Committee Chairperson Joel Ssenyonyi, said while Kagina admitted to flouting the financial management guidelines, they will scrutinize accountability for the funds re-allocated to a different project.
The MPs also noted that UNRA diverted 22.094 billion Shillings released for Government buildings and Administrative Structure projects; and under the same project, 6.163 billion Shillings meant for the purchase of office, Information and communications technology – ICT including software was diverted.
UNRA also received a release and expenditure of 33.009 billion Shillings for the purchase of specialized machinery and equipment out of which 19.3349 billion Shillings were diverted.
According to the status of the budget performance of UNRA in the 2021/2022 financial year, UNRA’s total approved budget stood at 3.918 trillion Shillings. Of that 3.787 trillion Shillings was released and 3.559 trillion Shillings was spent while 130.8 billion Shillings was not released.