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Accountant on the run over sh335m fraud

By Vision Reporter

Added 19th August 2015 08:50 AM

The former head of accounts Arua referral hospital, Joseph Omoding, is on the run after sanctioning fraud to the tune of sh335m under the nose of the hospital director and accounting officer, Dr. Barnard Odur, MPs heard Tuesday.

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The former head of accounts Arua referral hospital, Joseph Omoding, is on the run after sanctioning fraud to the tune of sh335m under the nose of the hospital director and accounting officer, Dr. Barnard Odur, MPs heard Tuesday.

By Moses Walubiri

The former head of accounts Arua referral hospital, Joseph Omoding,  is on the run after sanctioning fraud to the tune of sh335m under the nose of the hospital director and accounting officer, Dr. Barnard Odur, MPs heard Tuesday.


Odur told Lawmakers on the public accounts committee that Omoding has "not been seen for over a year," after his attempt to transfer sh82.3m from a Stanbic Bank account in the names of Arua hospital to a personal one in Housing Finance without proper authority was foiled by the employees of the former bank.

"I reported this matter to Arua police station where a case of forgery was entered against him (Omoding). But he has not been seen for over a year," Odur said in his response to one of the queries raised by the Auditor General, John Muwanga, in his report for the financial year ending June 2014.

"As accounting officer, I always make sure that before I sign on any cheque it must be accompanied by a relevant approved voucher by the accounting officer. Withdraws were made by head of accounts and efforts to trace these vouchers have proved futile since the accountant is on the run," Odur added.

Another sh253.5m query was also attributed to Omoding, with the Auditor General raising a red flag over the funds getting withdrawn in cash without supporting documents.

"I have never signed on cheques to withdraw this money. It's possible someone signed on my behalf," Odur said in response by committee vice chairperson, Paul Mwiru as to whether he sanctioned the cash withdraws in question.

The funds were not withdrawn in lump sum, but in ten installments, leading committee chairperson, Alice Alaso to ask Odur as to whether, during his reconciliation of the books of accounts, he never suspected anything wrong.

"There are two signatories on this account – I and head of accounts. But in this case, I don't remember signing these cheques," Odur said.

Alaso has ordered detectives attached to her committee to investigate the matter, and if necessary, involve handwriting experts to ascertain whether Odur's signature was forged by Omoding. 

Article 164(2) of the constitution and the recently enacted public finance management act make accounting officers liable for loss of public funds under their watch even when they cease to hold such offices. 

This means that Omoding, even though he was dismissed by ministry of public service, is expected to refund the funds in question.
 

Accountant on the run over sh335m fraud

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