Corruption in local governments has continued to bother MPs. The local government accounts committee was this week bothered by the Auditor Generalâ€™s report of 2007, which disclosed that local government authorities have mismanaged sh40b.
Committee chairman Geoffrey Ekanya said administrative advances amounting to sh9.9b were not accounted for. Another sh8.4b was lost in excess expenditure, while sh2.4b had no supporting vouchers. Most districts spent more than the approved budget and procurement laws were flouted. Ekanya said Katakwi and Nkokonjeru town councils, Kaberamaido, Kotido, Masindi and Bududa districts were the main culprits.
MPs throw out suspected Spy
Wednesday was a bad day for a man who was thrown out of a committee meeting for allegedly spying on the MPs. Dressed in a yellow suit, he had been taking notes in the committee on commissions and statutory authorities. Committee chairperson John Odit asked: â€œWe have got a mole. We know the journalists attached to the committee. Can you identify yourself?â€
The man, who declined to disclose his name, said he was on deployment by government chief whip Kabakumba Masiko.
Opposition chief whip Wadri Kassiano said he was not aware of the deployment, neither was the leader of the opposition in Parliament, Prof. Ogenga Latigo. â€œI doubt Kabakumba has the powers to recruit people to attend the committees,â€ Wadri said. But the senior assistant clerk to parliament, Lawrence Mujuni, said Kabakumba had recruited five people to attend the committees on accountability.
Otto withdraws CHOGM bribe claim
In a dramatic U-turn, Aruu MP Odonga Otto has withdrawn allegations that Buvuma MP William Nsubuga received a sh500,000 bribe to support the sh55b supplementary budget for CHOGM. Otto on Wednesday said he had established that Nsubuga did not receive the money. â€œChairman, I wish to amend my earlier submissions,â€ Otto stated.
Otto threatened to expose two ministers, more MPs and officials in the foreign affairs ministry. He told the committee chaired by Asuman Kiyingi that CHOGM bribes amounted to sh3b.
Rat eating comment irks MP
Local leaders in Karamoja said people have resorted to eating rats for survival. However, the area MP, the Rev. Simon Lokodo, was irked by a comment from the Karamoja affairs minister, Aston Kajara, that the Karimojong eat rats as a delicacy and not because of famine. Lokodo called it a malicious utterance.
MPs worried by blood scarcity
MPs heard on Monday that the country has only two blood banks, Nakasero and Mbale. The director Uganda Blood Transfusion Services, Peter Kataaha, said the Nakasero blood bank keeps over 60,000 units of blood, above its capacity of 20,000 units. He said the blood collected is sent to 160 hospitals countrywide, but it is not enough due to the high demand. He said sh10b is required to construct 10 regional blood banks. â€œThe Government has not constructed more blood banks because of budget constraints,â€ Kataaha said. The Nakasero and Mbale blood banks were built by donors over 30 years ago.
MPs query permanent secretaries over unlawful allowances
MPs on Monday expressed surprise that permanent secretaries of the finance and trade ministries, Chris Kassami and Sam Nahamya respectively, had been sitting on the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) board and receiving allowances for three years. According to URA chief, Allen Kagina, they have been receiving sh1,000,000 per month, irrespective of whether the URA board sat or not. The Auditor Generalâ€™s report said the duo had earned the payments from 2003 to 2006.
However, Kagina said two years ago she wrote to finance minister Ezra Suruma to legalise the appointments but did not receive any response. Commissions and statutory enterprises committee chairperson, John Odit said although the law allows the finance minister to appoint representatives on the board he could not appoint permanent secretaries.
Districts misuse sh40b