MPs ask auditor general to check multimillion BoU pens

One of BoU commemorative pens which was displayed before the committee. Photo by Beatrice Leni.

By Beatrice Leni

A procurement of 350 commemorative cross pens by Bank of Uganda (BOU) as gifts for its distinguished guests at the 50th anniversary has prompted a parliamentary committee to seek the Auditor General’s services.

Parliament’s committee on Commissions Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) has asked the AG to look into the quality of the pens which were purchased at a cost of Shs 125 million. The pens which were supplied by Aristoc Booklex each cost Shs 357, 147.

During a meeting between the committee and BOU officials led by the governor, Tumusiime Mutebile, two of the commemorative pens given out to special guests at the BOU at 50 celebrations in 2016 were displayed before the MPs.

The sight of the pen drew mixed reactions from the MPs, with some questioning its quality, while others wondered whether the money spent on purchasing them was equivalent to the quality.

Committee chairman, Abdu Katuntu was the first to question the pen’s quality.

“Are these really genuine cross pens and are they not counterfeit? We are going to pass them onto the Auditor General for purposes of authentication. In this world today, we have a lot of counterfeits,” Katuntu directed, to which other committee members agreed unanimously.

During the meeting, the officials from BOU also presented 17 files before the committee, detailing some of the procurements they had made since the 2014/15 financial year to-date, as had been instructed by the committee during their last meeting.

The Director of Procurement and Disposal Department at BOU, Pelly Kagasi, presented some of the procurement contracts for services given during the BOU at its 50 commemoration. They included Shs 144 million paid for hotel accommodation for its guests, plus Shs 100 million spent on cocktails for its guests.

MPs were dissatisfied though after the BOU officials did not produce supporting documents for all the procurements and demanded for them.

Sarah Kanyemibwa, BOU secretary, revealed then to the MPs that there could have been some items that did not go through the procurement department.

This prompted the committee to direct them to furnish the committee with all the procurement documents and contracts by end of Wednesday.



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