AG Muwanga address mismanagement of public funds in the Local Government; staggering amount of funds that disappears!
I hope this does not boggle your mind. Bear in mind that the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) lots of scrutiny for paying bonuses on a Tax-Case against Tullow Oil Corporations. This has led to giant pay-out’s to fellow loyalists in the regime and in the civil service, and other who helped the arranged case that they won in favour of the URA and the NRM; so that AG Muwanga tells about bad practices in the districts and counties is not surprising. When I went through the local portfolios during the campaigning, there was usually funds not spend or even unaccounted in a dozens districts. That was last budget year, not the one mentioned from the AG this time around.
Therefore, here is his revelation in Parliament yesterday:
“Auditor General, John Muwanga, who presented the report to the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga at Parliament on January 4, 2017, said the accounting officers attributed the irregularities to challenges encountered during decentralization of salary payments on the Integrated Financial Management System and Integrated Personnel and Payment System. “Many of the accounting officers explained that they had initiated the process of recovering the overpaid amounts and training of staff to build capacity and address the challenges. I wait for evidence to that effect,” Muwanga stated in the report. At least 33 local governments are quoted to have procured items worth Shs 27.5 billion without following public procurement regulations and guidelines. Out of this, Shs 1.3 billion lacked procurement files; Shs 21.2 billion where there was breach of procurement procedures; Shs 4.6 billion involving inadequate contract management and Shs 315 million from unauthorized contract variations. About Shs 3.8 billion was identified as funds unaccounted for by the local governments. “I could not confirm that the funds were utilized for the intended purposes. The delayed submission of accountability may also lead to falsification of documents resulting into loss of funds”. On under collection of local revenue, 161 councils registered a shortfall in collection of revenue amounting to Shs 17.1 billion, majorly attributed to failure to carry out revenue enumeration and assessments, non-enforcement of contracts with private revenue collectors, understaffing and incomplete revenue records” (Parliament Watch Uganda, 04.01.2016).
If you wonder where it went, than the only ones knowing is the ones that was in charge of transactions and the ones actually taking the monies. The Public Coffers gotten looted without proper procedure for random trades. We can only imagine where the money went. Who used it and for what purpose is not easy to know, if it was buying a great car or house, even if it was paying a side-chick of a local mayor, we do not know. What we do know is that the money left the system without acknowledgement and without needed guidelines of the usage of the funds. That is worrying how easily billions can fly out of the coffers. Brown envelopes of funds easy spent on joy and needed supplies for the elected and public servants without any recites or valid reason for the use.
That this is clear indication of the practices and lacking moral of both central government and local government is certain. Certainly if the Central Government cared and the Local Government was worried of repercussions for their misbehaviour they would have acted otherwise and might even tried to payback the funds to the state. Instead, they used it without warning and might be wasted monies on luxury items during the election.
When the Local Government even with lacking of protocol extend their goodwill to forge documents to prove the valid use, you know the system is made wrong and need a recharge, there are certainly to many loose ends when they go to that extend to clean their wrong doings. Peace.