order information pills http://cooperatition.org/wp-admin/includes/schema.php geneva;”>Revealing findings of the annual Auditor General’s statutory report last Friday, Muwanga noted that “steps must be taken to ensure culprits are forced to refund public funds stolen.”
Muwanga’s statement comes against the backdrop of a court ruling in which Principal Accountant, Godfrey Kazinda, was sentenced to only five years after being convicted on charges of forgery, abuse of office, making a document without authority and unlawful possession of government stores.
The Auditor General’s calls are likely to pile pressure on suspected beneficiaries of the OPM scam who include the Commissioner of Disaster Management, Martin Owor, under whose docket billions of shillings were lost to ghost suppliers of fuel and food supplies to Northern Uganda and Karamoja.
In 2012, a special audit was undertaken in the OPM on allegations of impropriety in financial management and financial irregularities such as diversions, fraud, unauthorised approvals of payments and irregular withdrawal of funds.
It was discovered that the better part of the funds was lost through irregular withdraw of funds and fraudulent payments to ghost suppliers of fuel and food supplies to Northern Uganda and Karamoja.
An investigation by the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) recently exposed Owor’s hand in the graft.
According to the report, which Chimpreports has seen, shs6.9bn was irregularly transferred to the disaster management account on June 27, 2011 from the Norwegian support to Peace Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP).
The committee discovered the donor support funds were fraudulently spent by the Principal Accountant Godfrey Kazinda and Owor “by depositing money on accounts of suppliers without requisitions or demand notes being presented.”
“The Committee recommends that the Principal Accountant and the Commissioner Disaster Management, Mr Martin Owor, be investigated with a view to establishing their role in the utilization of these funds.”
PAC revealed that suppliers of OPM were fraudulently paid over and above the amount of food supplies.
Owor is facing charges of abuse of office but Muwanga insists government can only be effective in cracking down on corruption if the likes of Kazinda, Owor and suppliers of ghost fuel and food are forced to refund the stolen monies.
Pinning the interdicted commissioner, PAC said, Owor connived with New Caltex Service Station Ntinda, a fuel station owned by Hussein Katumwa, Ahmed Masembe and Ibrahim Masembe which had been supplying fuel to OPM since 2009 to cause government a huge financial loss.
During this period there was a fuel shortage and was approached by Owor to supply fuel to the Department of Refugees and Disaster Management for purposes of delivering food to disaster prone areas in northern and eastern Uganda.
“There were no contractual dealings with OPM but fuel would be taken without a promise to pay. The committee was concerned that the fuel station had dealings with a government department without a formal contract,” the angered MPs wrote in their report which will soon be debated in Parliament.
The proprietor, Katumwa, told MPs during a hearing early this year that he took it as a “business risk” to supply fuel to OPM.
“Owor gave him the Order book and payment terms were drawn up. The committee noted that the OPM withdrew 57,000 litres of fuel per day for 4 days at a cost of shs144m per day,” the report reads in part, exposing possible connivance between Owor and Katumwa to steal public funds.
The committee further noted that the petrol station only had the capacity of only 22,000 litres.
The proprietor, Mr Katumwa, in his responses informed committee that he would receive signed vouchers from whoever came with them from OPM, make an invoice for payment at the end of every month and forward them to Owor.
Katumwa further acknowledged having received a payment of shs526m and the documentation forwarded to Owor. PAC established that this payment was made using a forged security paper.
Katumwa could not explain the fuel payment of shs576, 000,000. PAC noted that the drivers who were said to have received fuel from New Caltex, Ntinda disputed the fact.
PAC observed that the “procurement of the fuel station was irregularly executed between Owor and Katumwa and that payments amounting to shs6.8bn were not supported with consumptive documents, a sign that these funds could have been put to personal use.”