KAMPALA – Chief Justice, Bart Katureebe has attacked the Auditor General John Muwanga over what he calls errors in his 2017/2018 audit report over the cost of toilets constructed at his home.
He says the revelation has tarnished his name in the ‘learnt’ circles.
An angry Katureebe made the remarks yesterday at the handover ceremony of Judiciary’s outgoing Permanent Secretary, Kagole Expedito Kivumbi, to the incoming Secretary to Judiciary, Pius Bigirimana at the High Court in Kampala.
He said, “I don’t want to pretend that I am happy because it happened at the time when we as the Judiciary, us as individuals have been dragged so much in the mud. Finally, the Auditor General had to admit that that was an error because the press had to say that the toilets of the Chief Justice cost Shs436M, why?”
The 2017/2018 audit report on the Judiciary, highlighted that the institution spent Shs449,205,029M to construct water-borne toilets at the residence of Chief Justice Bart Katureebe and Chief Magistrate Court in Entebbe.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) learnt that Shs7,247,112,408Bn was spent on the procurement of desktop computers, motorcycles, water borne toilets and Microsoft ware yet the items purchased were not among those items listed on the approved procurement plan.
The report noted that the procurement contravened section 58(5%7) of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act,2003 provides that a procuring and disposing entity shall notify the Secretary to the Treasury and the Authority of any changes made to its procurement plan and submit the updated and approved plan to the Authority yet the procurement shall not be carried out outside the procurement plan except in cases of emergency situations.
The Auditors noted that the Judiciary paid Palwan Engineering Works Limited Shs13,103,015M to construct a waterborne toilet at the residence of Chief Justice on 28th March 2018 but shockingly, the same water-borne toilet was constructed by Platinum Engineering Limited at Shs436,102,014M at the Chief Magistrate Court in Entebbe with the money sent to the contractors on 25th October 2017.
In his response to the queries, Kagole Kivumbi, former Secretary to Judiciary rejected the amount quoted by the audit team arguing that the construction of the water-borne toilets were under the institution’s procurement plan to repair and maintain court buildings at UGX 102,833,00M.
He said the two works cost Judiciary UGX57M not figure stated by auditors.
The Chief Justice also has questioned the integrity of the reports by the Auditor General claiming that Muwanga had called repenting for his sins, after realizing the amount quoted had been inflated.
“And if there is an audit report by the Auditor General which contains an error of more than UGX 400M that tarnishes the name of the office of the Chief Justice how many such errors are contained in the report?”he said.
Katureebe also lashed out at whistleblowers who ran to PAC with information about misappropriation of UGX 34Bn that ended up on personal accounts of judicial officers questioning the motive behind these actions.
“But to run to PAC, everywhere with documents an officer had never seen, if you are going to run Government that way, I am sorry,” said Mr Katureebe.