MBARARA – Mbarara district officials’ woes take a new twist as District Public Accounts Committee grills them for failure to account for UGX870M in government funds.
Among the officials on spot for the saga include; CAO Ananias Kweyamba Ruhemba, DHO Peter Ssebuntinde, all health center IV in charges in the district, Inspector of Schools and officials from the works department.
Their grilling follows various audit queries that were raised by the office of the district internal auditor highlighting unaccounted for advances for administration, delayed UPE and USE projects in schools and Primary Health Care funds and unspent local revenue.
These audit queries were raised in the audit report for the financial year 2018/2019.
Discrepancies were unearthed in payment vouchers, delayed or no accountability of public funds when the monies were dispatched with HODs failing to declare and submit the accountabilities in the statutory 30 days – a requirement they claimed they were not aware of.
With works department’s Atahoburyo Apriel taking oath first to explain how he misused UGX 674,400, He left a lot to be desired to account for payment voucher no.20 and 21 of 2018 dispatched for the supervision of road gangs released in August 2018.
“At the time of submitting the report, I did not know that I was supposed to attach the receipts,” responded Atahobury.
CAO Ruhemba responded:
“They wrote you a management letter requesting you to submit your accountability but you declined to do so I think unless someone is made to refund the money, things won’t change, I tell you, chairperson, let these people pay back the money”
The health Inspector for Kashari, Santos Mugisha was tasked to account for UGX1.2m received that was meant to conduct the meetings in 18 sub-counties in September 2018. his one had no accountability but rather defended himself that he has much work to do and does not know when and to whom he is supposed to send the accountabilities.
“The law does not know that you have much area of coverage, have you ever brought it to the attention of CAO that you are toned apart? We cannot buy that excuse, we want this money back” Gumisiriza the chairperson PAC said.
Theodore Byakatonda was grilled why he failed to handle over the sub-county motorcycles when he was still the sub-county chief for Rubindi.
He noted that at the time of the handover in 2016, the motorcycle Reg no. LG 0195/31 had a mechanical problem and was in the garage and that he used his money to repair it.
Others who were grilled were Keneth Kashaija from works department who was given UGX1,240,00o to survey new sites for boreholes but did not account for the money. Rose Kauhangane failed to account for the shs120,000 that was meant for newspaper Edward Mbabazi the school inspector failed to account for shs1.9M for inspections on payment voucher number 022,023 and 024.
Whereas Dr. Peter Ssebutinde and his all health center IV in-charges in the district embezzled UGX105,903,249 a PHC fund that is meant to improve the general sanitation in these health units especially Ndaija, Mwizi and Nyakayojo.
PAC discover that most accounting officers have abandoned their duty stations for other businesses
Godwin Gumisiriza while addressing the media noted with concern that it is very shocking to find a government official does not know the period within which he/she is supposed to make accountabilities of the money spent.
“We have found out that over shs870m was not properly accounted for in the first quarter of FY 2018/18 and this has been majorly in health, education, and works. We have learned that these officials after getting money for the public they don’t care to make accountability not only for the funds but also the work is done. It is very shocking to find a person who handles public funds does not know the time within which he is supposed to make accountability after receiving the money,” noted Gumisiriza.
He adds, “We have found out that delayed accountabilities go with forgery and this is the major challenge in Mbarara, much laxity and for those who have failed to account for the money, will have to pay back.”
He further recommended that DHO Ssebutinde and his accomplices report to Mbarara police and record statements over the shs105m PHC funds which they failed to account so that investigation can start. That out of that sum, the team was able to account for only UGX18m