By Joyce Namutebi
KAMPALA - The Auditor General (AG) wants an end to the bucket system used as a toilet facility in most prisons in the country.
He is concerned that only 28 out of the 230 prisons country wide use water closet toilets.
“The prisoners continue to use the bucket system as a toilet facility. This system is not only unhygienic but also humanly degrading,” the AG said in his annual report to Parliament for the period ending June 30, 2013 Volume 1.
Uganda Prisons Service spokesperson, Frank Baine, however, attributed the problem to inadequate funding. He, for instance, said that only Sh86b has been allocated to them in 2014/15 yet the ideal budget would be about Sh300b.
He pointed out that in 2006 when local government prisons were merged with central government prisons; they received 174 prisons, 90% of which were using the bucket system. ‘Funding has not improved,” he said, but hoped that the situation would improve gradually.
The AG said the prisons Accounting Officer had indicated that in order to address the problem of buckets, Uganda Prisons Service required Sh2.64b to improve the living conditions of the prison community.
“Government should consider providing resources for this activity,” he said. The report is yet to be debated by Parliament.
Some of the prisoners in Luzira Prisons
Legislators have also on a number of occasions condemned the bucket system and demanded that government increases the budget of Prisons.
The AG observed that Government owns land through a number of Government entities, but that these entities are facing challenges of protecting it from illegal claimants and encroachers. The challenges, he said, include lack of titles and the inability to physically secure the properties due to inadequate resources. The most affected institutions he cited include National Agricultural Research Organisation, Law Development Centre, Prisons and Gulu University.
Advances on personal accounts
A number of Accounting Officers advanced over Sh16b to their staff, through their individual personal accounts, the report said.
The AG advised the Accounting officers to avoid the practice saying it is contrary to regulations, highly risky and exposes government funds to loss since Accounting Officers have no control over individual’s bank accounts.
Also over Sh65.8b advanced to staff to carry out activities in various entities remained un-accounted for by the time of audit contrary to the Public Finance and Accounting Regulations.
“Delays in accounting for funds may encourage falsification of documents,” he warned.