PAC Resumes Sitting with Evasive OPM Senior Witness

1993 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Doubtful accountability, forged receipts, quack service delivery companies and exaggerated figures characterized today’s sitting of the Public Accounts committee in Parliament.

Doubtful accountability, forged receipts, quack service delivery companies and exaggerated figures characterized today’s sitting of the Public Accounts committee in Parliament.
 
Patricia Agaba Ruhinda, a senior assistant secretary in the finance department in the office of the Prime Minister, was appearing before the committee to explain how she spent 1.3 billion shillings.
 
Today the committee chaired by Terego County MP Kasiano Wadri heard that Agaba only accounted for 66.5 million shillings. The special investigations report by the Auditor General’s report notes that Agaba spent 44 million shillings to plough plots in Kiryadongo and 22.5 million for bush clearing of 40 acres.
 
Agaba who did not provide the requisition and accountability documents told the committee that after she has requisitioned for money, she does not know what happens after. She stated that her only interest is to know that her accountability has been received.
 
Wadri questioned her whether she had any files to show as evidence for the requisitions which provide proof of her accountability.
 
The committee also heard that Agaba was in charge of 99.2 million shillings for fuel for government officials overseeing the resettling of Bududa Survivors and flood victims.
 
However, the accountability was in doubt. The report cites Key fuel station located at old Portbell road that gave receipts with serial numbers following each other yet she was drawing fuel on different days.
 
Receipts also indicated that Agaba was the only customer to that particular petrol station for a whole month.
 
//Cue in: “You are a …
Cue out:….no no no.”//
 
Additional items for Bududa victims at kiryandongo settlement centre were purchased on 19th April 2011 at 99 million shillings. Despite express orders from Pius Bigirimana the Permanent Secretary to pay 96 million shillings to the service provider to supply tarpaulins, the money was instead advanced to Agaba in cash.
 
However, Scholar Supply Limited the company which purportedly supplied the tarpaulins deals in scholastic materials and denied ever dealing in tarpaulins on phone.
 
Agaba who failed to clearly explain how the tarpaulins were purchased insisted it deals in general merchandise telling the committee that she used her driver Kalule Ibrahim to get the supplier.
 
//Cue in: “I actually sent…
Cue out:…is true…laughter.”//
 
The committee was also shocked to discover that Musa Ecweru, the state Minister for disaster preparedness, his bodyguard and driver received ten million shillings as allowances.
 
The money was for a one day visit to Moroto district. The only accountability for this money was a bank slip which indicated deposit of the money to Minister Ecweru’s account with Centenary bank Soroti branch.
 
//Cue in: “If just a ministers’…
Cue out:…that was accountability.”//
 
This is despite the fact that an allowance for a minister is 150,000, a driver gets 55,000 and a bodyguard gets 70,000 shillings per day.