look http://conceive.ca/wp-content/cache/wp-cache-306934e18bc5bcb7e708db5bd87a07af.php geneva;”>With public health infrastructure in shambles, store education facilities rotting away, no rx public service delivery on its knees and civil servants crying for salary increment, the Ministry of Public Service registered the highest levels of corruption in which almost shs200bn was lost.
A staggering shs165bn earmarked for civil servants’ pension was stolen by a racket of thieves.
While suspects in this case are before court, the revelations point to the urgent need to restructure the Ministry of Finance and clog the loopholes being exploited by thieving government officials.
Auditor General John Muwanga noted that 13 new loans equivalent to shs.1.3 trillion had their loan agreements signed prior to parliamentary approval.
Yet, according to Section 20(3) of the PFAA 2003, the terms and conditions of a loan shall be laid before Parliament and shall not come into operation unless they have been approved by a resolution of Parliament.
Muwanga further noted that a number of Accounting Officers mischarged expenditure through charging wrong budget codes without following set procedures.
“The mischarges at times amounted to as much as 81 percent of the budget of the entity. As a consequence the funds were diverted and not utilised in accordance with the Appropriation Act and the guidance of Parliament,” said Muwanga in the report released on Friday.
The audit review revealed mischarged expenditure amounting to Shs256, 976,089,113.
He said it is important that the budgeting process and its implementation are improved upon to enable attainment of government intentions.
Activists have in the past piled pressure on government to address the issue of corruption that is getting increasingly entrenched in the public service sectors.
Ethics and Integrity Minister, Fr Simon Lokodo recently highlighted poor enforcement measures and not just lack of government will, as being central in the corruption quagmire in which Uganda is engulfed in today.
“You cannot say that government lacks the will to fight corruption, when this was at the very center of NRA’s core values during the bush war and was clearly spelt out in the subsequent 10 point program,” he said.
He added: “The Will is there and that is why we have all these anti corruption agencies, policies and legal frameworks in place; we only lack effective enforcement measures.”
But former Integrity Minister Miria Matembe recently expressed fury over government’s failure to crack down on the corrupt mafia, saying “when the citizens bamboozled by the corruption scandals by government officials took to the street to express their concerns, all that government did was round them up, clobber and dump them in jail and the same government claims a high moral ground and political will to fight corruption!”
By being able to expose this graft, reasons Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, government has as well managed to develop capacity to detect cases of corruption.
Meanwhile, a special audit was also undertaken in the Office of the Prime Minister on allegations of impropriety in financial management and financial irregularities such as diversions, fraud, unauthorised approvals of payments and irregular withdrawal of funds.
As a consequence of these irregularities Shs 58bn is estimated to have been misappropriated.
The better of these funds was lost through dubious cash payments of ghost suppliers of foods and fuel to Northern Uganda and Karamoja under the office of Disaster Management headed by Martin Owor.
The theft was also facilitated by interdicted Principal Accountant Godfrey Kazinda.
Another special audit undertaken in the Ministry of Public Service on the financial impropriety of pension funds found that a number of financial controls were circumvented and as a consequence an estimated amount of Shs165 billion was misappropriated.
Shs 93bn related to the financial year 20011/12 was also utilised within the Ministry cash offices. A total of such funds found not accounted for was Shs.27, 869, 964,417.
It also emerged that Shs47bn was overpaid by Uganda National Roads authority to various contractors on three road construction contracts arising from errors in the application of variation of price (VoP) formulae used in computing compensation amounts.
Muwanga further said a total of Shs44bn has been accrued in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs financial statements, and Shs.10bn paid in relation to compensation of internally displaced people following the insurgency in Lira in Northern Uganda.
The claims submitted in relation to these claims were found to have several inconsistencies that rendered them doubtful.
During the implementation of Community Agricultural Infrastructure Improvement Programme (CAIIP) under the Ministry of Local Government, Parallel structures were created in the Ministry of Works and Transport and the Ministry of Agriculture Animal industry and fisheries in form of supervision units to support the implementation.
However the same provisions were provided under Ministry of Local Government.
As a consequence, Shs 6, 338,779,538 was lost in duplicate payments under these units.
Muwanga also said a number of Accounting Officers advanced funds to officers through their personal accounts to carry out official activities. These funds should as much as possible have been paid to the beneficiaries directly.
The practice is contrary to the regulations, highly risky and exposes government funds to loss since Accounting Officers have no control over private individual accounts.
Examination of a total of Shs.67, 085,008,004 involved revealed that Shs.25, 934,774,910 remained not adequately accounted for.
“Good financial management practices discourage the use of the cash given the huge risks associated with it. Entities were found to have drawn out huge amounts of money in cash for execution of government activities. A portion of these funds were then advanced to officers resulting in similar risks identified in advancing funds through individuals,” said Muwanga.
He also pinned government for undertaking additional foreign investments worth shs.33 billion during the 2012/13 financial year without investment plans and project appraisals.
In addition, it was difficult to link these investments to the overall government investment objectives.
Auditor General John Muwanga
Although government has been investing in private companies, the investments are not evidenced and supported with share certificates.
“In this respect, I noted investments amounting to shs27,143,378,OOO lacking such certificates,” Muwanga revealed.
A special audit on Presidential Initiative on market vendors and small business operations fund revealed that funds amounting to shs.2.4 billion out of shs10bn provided was misappropriated.
“As such, the intended objectives of creating a revolving fund have not been achieved.”
The Ministry of Water entered into several Memorandum of Understandings with Non Governmental Organizations and private companies and provided for tax waivers within these MoUs.
As such, the Ministry had to meet several tax obligations on behalf of these companies arising out of the agreements made.
“I found this irregular as the mandate for provision of tax waivers lies solely with the Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development. As a result of these obligations the Ministry paid a total of Shs.439, 830,069 on behalf of these organizations and companies,” said Muwanga.
The Audit further noted that a total of Shs.1, 014,536,981 was paid by the ministry on behalf of National Water and Sewerage Corporation, an independent organization, which should have dealt with its own tax issues/obligations.
Muwanga further cited cases of corruption in the Support to Energy Fund which was established in July 2005 with a sole objective of setting aside funds for financing large power projects in the country.
The project financing seized in 2008/9. In 2009, by way of statutory instrument number 16, the Energy Investment Fund was created with exactly the same objectives as the preceding one.
“I found it irregular that the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development is operating two Energy Funds. The creation of the Energy Investment Fund by way of a statutory instrument would ‘have meant stopping all operations of the support to Energy Fund and transferring all the balances to the new fund. However, this was not done.”
The Auditor General said a lot of investments in terms of computers and related software and accessories have been undertaken in Local Governments without man power and proper procedures to manage these equipments.
He said there was a risk of wastage in the absence of such measures.
“The Ministry of Local Government should liaise with the Ministry of Public Service to address this challenge. The trend of understaffing in Local Governments is noted to be decreasing. This impact negatively on the expected service delivery to the local communities. Our review indicated that under staffing decreased from 43 percent to 32 percent. The Ministry of Local Government should continue to liaise with the Ministry of Public Service and that of Finance Planning and Economic Development to address the challenge.”
He further noted there were a number of cases where land on which some Local Governments and facilities are located is in dispute.
Muwanga said there was urgent need to obtain title deeds for all the land owned by the Local Governments to safeguard against loss of Public property.
The inspection of Universal Primary Education Schools revealed challenges arising from under funding. These include among others inadequate classrooms, latrines, teachers and dilapidated infrastructure. “These challenges require urgent attention by all the stake holders,” Muwanga advised.
There were also procurement anomalies noted relating to non-availability of procurement files, breach of procurement procedures, unauthorized variations and inadequate contract management.
Muwanga said these could have contributed to the instances of incomplete works and shoddy works noted.
There were discrepancies of Shs12, 880,915,696 between the funds indicated as transferred to the Local Governments by Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development and what was reported in the final accounts as received by the Local Government.”
The report will soon be tabled before Parliament for discussion.