By Henry Sekanjako and Mary Karugaba
Officials from the National Agricultural Advisory services (NAADS) have failed to account for over Sh 7billion that was disbursed to different beneficiaries in various districts to carry out NAADS activities.
According to the auditor general’s report for the financial year ended June 30, 2011/2012, NAADS effected payment of the money without the approval of the NAADS accounting officer.
“We reviewed payment vouchers in connection with the expenditure and noted that a number of vouchers were neither initiated nor signed off by the accounting officer,” the auditor general stated in the report.
However appearing before the public accounts committee of parliament, the finance officer NAADS Rehema Omar referred to the failure to avail accountability for the said monies as an ‘oversight’.
“This was not fraud, we can provide evidence that the money was paid to the relevant beneficiaries,” assured Omar.
The executive director NAADs Samuel Mugasi told MPs that the secretariat was crossing checking for necessary information for evidence regarding the payments.
“All the money was paid to the relevant beneficiaries and vouchers have since been signed off and the auditor general has cleared the query,” said Mugasi who was in company of NAADs officials and district chief administration officers.
The MPs however grilled the officials for carrying out payments without the approval of the accounting officer.
“All the people who were paid didn’t acknowledge receipt of the monies, there was nothing like activity reports and supporting documents,” said committee chair Kasiano Wadri.
MP Emma Bboona added; “we want evidence of the people who were paid this money, so that we can get a clear picture”.
The auditor general indicated that a number of payment vouchers together with respective supporting documents were neither cancelled nor stamped paid on completion of a payment transaction.
Meanwhile the committee threw out over 100 district chief executive officers (CAOs) and district NAADs coordinators that had come along with the NAADs officials to respond to the auditor general’s queries.
The MPs said it was not necessary to have the CAOs accompany the NAADs officials since they would at a given time appear before the parliament’s committee on local government for accountability.
“Why have all the CAOs here when it is the executive director NAADs to answer these questions, they have wasted taxpayers money in fuel and accommodation,” said Henry Musaasizi.