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Gender officials chased away over CHOGM funds

By Vision Reporter

Added 9th November 2009 03:00 AM

A team of the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development was yesterday sent away by the parliamentary committee probing CHOGM expenditure after they failed to submit accountability for funds received for the summit.

By Milton Olupot and Mary Karugaba

A team of the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development was yesterday sent away by the parliamentary committee probing CHOGM expenditure after they failed to submit accountability for funds received for the summit.

MPs on the public accounts committee accused the permanent secretary, Guwatudde Kintu, of failure to answer their questions.

The committee, chaired by Nandala Mafabi (FDC), also questioned some of the documents the team presented.

“I would go with the proposal that you give us more time,” said Kintu responding to a question whether they were ready for the meeting.

The Auditor General in his report had noted that the Commonwealth Youth Forum Secretariat did not maintain ledgers and distribution lists for procured goods amounting to about sh1b.

The officers yesterday presented the missing documentation on fresh looking paper, raising suspicion that they could have been forged or backdated.

The members wanted to know why they failed to avail them to the Auditor General.

Kintu explained that the officer in-charge had retired and was later called in to submit the documents. But the MPs were unconvinced.

“This retired officer, did he retire with the documents or was he just recalled to generate these documents?” Albert Oduman (FDC) wondered.

“A book of two years cannot be like this. This is very new paper with same ink used by different people. An MP is among the list of people who signed for gifts. We should call him and verify if this is his signature,” said Christine Bako (FDC).

“What is apparent is that these books were written yesterday. It is likely that this accountability is forged so we are sending it to CID to investigate,” added Mafabi.

“Refusing or failing to provide documents to the Auditor General attract a fine of 1,000 currency points (sh20m) or 12 years imprisonment. Are you ready to go to prison or have you come with the money?” Tom Kazibwe (NRM) asked.

The MPs questioned sh26m spent on 72 purported volunteers. Kintu explained that the money was spent on transport, meals and airtime.

The MPs wanted to know the rationale of using volunteers when events managers and planners were hired. They also questioned why they were called volunteers, yet they were being facilitated.

The committee instructed the permanent secretary to furnish them with advertisement for the volunteer jobs, details of the recruitment procedures, their job description and their names.

The ministry officials said sh954m was spent on inspection and training for hotel staff, the purchase of specialised inspection machines and three motor vehicles.

But the MPs wondered whether the hotels should not have been the ones to pay the ministry for training their staff and for inspection.

Gender officials chased away over CHOGM funds

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