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Police tasked to account for UGX 37Bn COVID-19 funds

FILE PHOTO: Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has tasked officials from the Uganda Police to account for 37 billion recently appropriated by parliament to facilitate the force’ operations in controlling the spread of coronavirus disease.

Police officials led by the Chief of Staff, Brigadier Jack Bakasumba were on Friday appearing before PAC to respond to audit queries raised by Auditor General John Muwanga in his June 2019 report. But at the same time, the committee had recieved complaints that some of the frontline officers are being denied their allowances by the top managers.

Bakasumba blamed the complaints on errant officers who have ignored channels of addressing their grievances and instead resorting to media. He added that some complaints are emanating from non deployed officers who want to have a share of the money.

He said that money allocated by parliament has been handled in the most transparent manner benefiting more than 33,000 police officers. Each officer who is deployed on COVID-19 related activities is given 11,000 Shillings per day for the services they offer.

“Of course you are hearing these complaints from some of these indiscipline officers because we have clear chains of communication, if you have been underpaid by your immediate commander, then submit the complaints through headquarters through the right channel,” said Bakasumba.

Aggrey Wunyi, the police under secretary also explained how allowances have been paid out to the officers.

According to a document accessed by URN, out of the 37.48 billion Shillings allocated to police, 76.8 million Shillings has been spent under advertising and public relations, 480 million spent on printing, stationary and photocopying and  4.012 billion Shillings spent on special meals and drinks for the frontline officers and others.

The others are 1.83 billion Shillings for medical and veterinary supplies, 4.37 billion Shillings for cleaning and sanitation, 11.57 billion Shillings for uniforms, bedding and protective gear, 3.4 billion Shillings for fuel, oils and lubricants, 6.41 billion Shillings  for maintenance of fleet while 5.28 billion Shillings is classified expenses.

Wunyi told PAC that at least 33,245 personnel have benefited from allowances adding that the  procurement of two ambulances and other nine vehicles are awaiting delivery. He also noted that they have so far maintained 172 of the COVID-19 operational fleet.

Committee Chairperson Nathan Nandala Mafabi said that PAC was to interrogate the expenditure first and interface with the officials on the matter again.

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