By Umaru Kashaka
The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Gen Kale Kayihura, has refuted allegations of discretionary spending of sh315b that was allocated to Police in the current financial year.
Appearing before the Defence and Internal Affairs committee of parliament on Wednesday, Kayihura said there was a mix-up of items and figures in the national framework paper for 2014/15 fiscal year that was presented to parliament by the ministry of finance.
“The problem is not ours; the ministry of finance made a mistake in the national budget framework paper and left out some items we had presented to it. They mixed up issues,” he told the committee chaired by the Mubende Woman MP, Benny Namugwanya.
Rogers Muhirwa, the Under Secretary/Police said for instance the sh36.8b earmarked for managing 25 public order incidents included salaries for police personnel, but this was not reflected in the finance’s budget framework.
“Yes we had anticipated 25 incidents, but we managed four of them at a cost of sh10.2bn by September 2013. This money included salaries and whether the incidents occurred or not, the officers had to be paid,” he explained.
Muhirwa also rubbished claims that of sh22.4b that was provided for purchasing three twin-engine helicopters, sh10.3b was spent on assessment visits for the procurements.
He said part of the sh22.4b was for honouring contractual obligations on vehicles.
“The process for procuring helicopters is ongoing. We only spent sh27m when we sent three of our officers to make the assessment of procuring the helicopters and not sh10b as stated in the budget framework paper,” he stated.
The committee, which had said the costs could be a source of further hemorrhage of public funds and tasked the officials to explain, however agreed to give the Police the benefit of doubt and consider its sh607b proposed budget for next fiscal year.
“There is no point in continuing to press these people (officials) for answers when things were mixed up by finance ministry and the Police document here says otherwise. It’s alarming to say sh2.5b is spent on the management of each public order. Let’s allow them to present and make report later,” Aruu County MP Odonga Otto said.
His view was bought by the majority of the committee members including the chairperson, Namugunya.
However MPs including Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga county) Ibrahim Ssemujju (Kyadondo East) and Muwanga Kivumbi from Butambala MP protested the decision to consider the police budget, saying some MPs had been compromised by the recent trip to Somalia under the auspices of police.
"This perturbing expenditure shouldn’t be handled lightly. They had told us that the contractual obligation on vehicles had been retired at the end of the previous FY [2012/2013], and now they are resurrecting it, which is unacceptable,” said Ssekikubo.
They were also surprised to hear that the Force intends to spend additional funds on the procurement of transport equipment in 2014/15 worth sh35.2b.
"However, the committee is interested in ascertaining the circumstances under which police still continued to reflect this contractual obligation as outstanding, contrary to what they had initially told the committee,"Kivumbi noted.
They also queried sh13.1b which was reportedly spent on repairing a grader and the procurement of two tractors, which they found"ridiculous".