THE cash-strapped local authorities countrywide lost over sh142b in the 2007/2008 financial year, the Auditor General, John Muwanga, has said.
The money was lost through negligence in collecting council arrears, excessive expenditure, fraudulent dealings, irregular procurement of goods and services and non-remittance of taxes to the Uganda Revenue Authority.
Kampala district alone lost sh90.8b, the Auditor Generalâ€™s report on local authorities for the year ended June 30, 2008 said.
Most of the money, sh77.7b, was lost through negligence to collect council debts.
In Kampala district, sh72b was not collected. The Central Division failed to collect sh24b, Kawempe Division, sh6.9b, Makindye sh12.5b Nakawa sh16b, Kampala City Council headquarters sh6.4b and Rubaga sh5.8b. Mayuge district had the least revenue arrears of sh2.6m, the report said.
â€œMoney owed to the council represents an asset that is idle as it denies the council the opportunity of using the money to provide services promptly,â€ the report said.
It showed that sh19.3b was spent without adequate supporting documentation.
Under-collection of revenue and expenditure without authority accounted for sh8b and sh5.7b respectively.
Kibaale district had the worst unauthorised spending of over sh1.2b, followed by Masindi district which spent over sh1b.
Unvouched expenditure totalled sh9.3b, with Bududa district spending in excess of sh5.5b, Manafwa district sh1b and Kayunga district sh3.1m.
Irregular procurement of goods and services, the report said, cost the country sh3.7b, with Makindye Division accounting for sh393m.
The report noted that a number of councils had transactions open to fraud amounting to sh1b.
It said a number of councils engaged in wasteful expenditure amounting to sh345m. This, the Auditor General described as â€œa deliberate move by some council employees to deprive council of public funds.â€
â€œAccounting officers should investigate and take action on the culprits,â€ he advised. The report said sh4.1b in unspent conditional grants was not returned to the consolidated fund by the councils as required.
The councils, the report said, failed to remit sh761m deducted as withholding tax to URA.
The Auditor General advised accounting officers to ensure that before any payment is made, relevant supporting documents are attached and are checked for rates, quantities and authorisation.
Muwanga urged them to vigorously monitor, follow up debtors regularly. He also advocated for legal redress to long outstanding debts.
Local govts lose sh142b