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Parliament orders forensic audit into Namboole Stadium UGX 875M debt

Mandela National Stadium, Namboole in a very poor condition. (PHOTO/File)

KAMPALA – The Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) has ordered a forensic audit into Mandela Memorial National Stadium, the body in charge of managing the Namboole national stadium after queries were raised on the UGX 875 million domestic arrears.

The directive was issued by PAC Chairperson, Nandala Mafabi while meeting with officials from the Ministry of Finance who had been summoned by the Committee to respond to audit queries raised in the June 2018 audit report.

“The stadium is in a dilapidated state that is why there is need for recapitalisation so that the facility can actually be good.” noted Chris Mugisha from the Privatisation Unit.

Mr Mafabi has tasked the Ministry of Finance to avail Parliament with documents regarding the stadium’s board and operations.

“You have the hotel, the stadium and parking. So tell us what the challenge of capitalisation is?”asked Mr Mafabi.

Moses Mwase, Executive Director Privatisation Unit told the Committee that Namboole’s debt is as a result of under capitalisation adding that since the inception of the facility that boasts of 25,000 seats, the Mandela management has not declared dividends to government yet the facility is in a dilapidated state.

“We have started discussions on how to bring a third developer on board. It would require government to develop funds for us to do an analysis that would inform us on how the works to be done,” said Mwase.

The revelation shocked the Committee with MPs asking the Ministry of Finance to explain where all the money that has been collected from Namboole has been going to if no dividends have been declared since the stadium was opened up for public use.

Hon. Joseph Ssewungu (Kalungu West) also asked the Ministry of Finance to clear air around a conspiracy that plans are underway to sell the stadium to a private developer to which Mwase replied, “The story of Namboole goes back to its founding. The story is it was a donation. It was a donation planted where it is without all the instruments that make it a company. They need a lot more than the proceeds they get.”

The discussion around Namboole followed an observation by the Auditor General who revealed in the 2017/2018 audit report that domestic arrears had risen by 51% from 2017 to 2018.

The stadium was built with a grant of US$36M from China and it was opened in 1997 with a concert by late Lucky Dube and following its refurbishment of USD2.4m in 2004, the stadium was later named Mandela National Stadium after the former South African president, Nelson Mandela.

There were also queries raised on the ownership of the stadium with documents from the Ministry of Finance indicating the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Finance own 99% and 1% shares respectively, yet Charles Bakabulindi, State Minister of Sports had denied the stadium being under the management of Ministry of Education.

Mafabi said, “Instead of the money going back for revamping, there must be somebody pocketing the money.

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