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Auditor General pins 11 ministries



Of the 487 financial audits concluded for ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), commissions, statutory and state enterprises, projects, districts and municipalities, 433 (89 per cent) had unqualified opinions and 54 (11 per cent had qualified opinions.

Qualified means qualified for punishment. The agencies qualified for punishment include Uganda National Roads Authority, Judiciary, Uganda Law Reform Commission, Ugandan embassy in China, Mulago national referral hospital, ministry of Health, National Drug Authority, Uganda Cancer Institute, Uganda Heart Institute and Equal Opportunities Commission.

UNRA, according to the Auditor General, diverted up to Shs 341.2 billion from planned activities without authority. The entity also made payments for un-budgeted domestic arrears amounting up to Shs 224.5 billion. UNRA also incurred a nugatory expenditure amounting to Shs 8.1 billion and $800,448 that arose out of penalties for court cases and interest on delayed payments of advances from various contractors.

The Judiciary irregularly diverted Shs 565 million on activities that had not been approved, and a total of Shs 1.2 billion remains unaccounted for as it lacked supporting documents such as acknowledgment receipts.

Also Shs 103 million was diverted from the Justice, Law and Order Sector (JLOS) Sector Wide Approach (SWAP) funds to refund bail claimants’ money that went missing and the money has never been refunded or recovered from the responsible officers.

Judiciary also failed to account for Shs 84 million paid to officers of the registry High court in Kampala. Payment vouchers worth Shs 320 million paid to various officers and companies by the registrar High court during the financial year under review were missing. Another Shs 237 million was ineligibly expensed on the registrar High court.

Ministry of Health made unsupported adjustments relating to domestic arrears amounting to Shs 1.5 billion, overdrafts worth Shs 1.03 billion and bounced EFTs amounting to Shs 313 million. The ministry also mischarged or diverted funds worth Shs 3.1 billion, Shs 2.7 billion was paid out as pension without verification of salary, gratuity and pension files.

Uganda Cancer Institute diverted Shs 497 million off Shs 7 billion allocated to deliver cancer care services to other activities while National Drug Authority failed to utilise funds worth Shs 39 billion from a capital expenditure budget of Shs 41 billion.

Mulago hospital charged Shs 3.2 billion on items that do not reflect the nature of expenditure as defined per government chart of accounts. The Auditor General also faulted the hospital management for collecting only Shs 4 billion against a budgeted revenue target of 13 billion – a 70 per cent underperformance.

Furthermore, the hospital declared only 41 registered ventures as operating on hospital land but a physical count inspection revealed that 145 ventures were on the hospital land and only the less profitable ones were declared. Mulago also fell short on developing performance agreements/targets, failed to develop performance appraisals, failed to monitor staff attendance, and among others.

The Uganda Heart Institute, meanwhile, diverted Shs 579 million earmarked to be spent on planned activities without authority. The Auditor General also observed that the institute had over 270 patients waiting for surgery and patients usually have to wait for up to two years to be operated on. Although the institute makes waivers for various reasons, there is no waiver’s policy to provide guidance on the matter.

The Ugandan embassy in China diverted Shs 654 million without authority from the accountant general and Shs 33 million reported as outstanding advances has taken a long period without recovery from concerned officials. Another Shs 209m remained unaccounted for at the time of the audit.

Uganda Law Reform Commission irregularly diverted and spent Shs 59 million on other activities at code level without the necessary approvals while Shs 1.1 billion was also diverted from programs on which they were budgeted and spent on other programs without authority.  

Equal Opportunities Commission irregularly diverted Shs 783 million without approval, Shs 144 million employer contribution was not remitted to National Social Security Fund. Management also irregularly paid Shs 668 million and Shs 322 million towards duty and consultancy allowances irrespectively.  

The AG’s report noted that various entities charged wrong expenditure codes amounting to a total of Shs 384 billion. This practice, the AG says, leads to financial misreporting and undermines the budgeting process.

A total of Shs 19 billion remained unaccounted for by the time of the audit, contrary to the Public Finance and Accounting Regulations. Judiciary failed to account for Shs 1.2 billion; Uganda embassy in Rome, Shs 206 million, Ugandan embassy in China, Shs 209 million, Ugandan embassy in Ethiopia, Shs 234 million; Kyambogo University, Shs 296 million, ministry of Water and Environment, Shs 136; million; and Uganda National Children’s Authority, Shs 52 million.

“In the absence of proper accountability, the auditor general could not provide assurance as to whether the funds involved were utitlised for the intended purposes.”

The ministry of Finance sought for Shs 1.7 billion supplementary budget from parliament. Parliament approved and appropriated only Shs 615 million but Finance went ahead and spent Shs 1.1 billion.

Maxwell Ongetho from the Auditor General’s Office challenged civil society organisations to make follow-ups on the AG’s report by reaching out to the local communities and make them understand that the reason for poor service delivery was due to theft of public funds.

“We want a comprehensive system on implementation…What we want is this to be reflective on a shared platform; wherever you are you can punch in, check and say this entity of Local Government A in the last five years, these were the issues raised. The Auditor General is saying this has been implemented, this has not been implemented. Then you’re able to go and verify,” he said.

“The civil society has a special role because you’re the lead link between we who write in a professional way, there are standards, there are procedures of the paper and for our work to be appreciated we have to do that. Now you, you understand both our language and also the language of the local people…. Talk about the service missed.” he added.

Ogentho said the accountability government officials and contractors talk about on paper should also be reflective on the ground. He said parliament should ask the questions of paper accountability while civil society ask for tangible accountability. He also said that society should make it scary and embarrassing for officials to steal government money.

“If everything is fine, the two should tally; not engineers attaching receipts but when you go down, there is no borehole. This is like a relay race; if there are four they should all relate with each other…I am not sure there is any technology that will replace the physical reality of what you see on the ground. I don’t see a situation where we have solved all the problems and there is no need for civil society,” Ogentho said.

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Museveni: We Don’t Encourage Export of Labour




President Museveni has urged Ugandans to exploit the available resources to create jobs and stem labour export.

Uganda does not encourage the export of human labour resource abroad,” said Museveni on Saturday, April 10.

”Uganda is a very rich country. It is bad to be poor. What matters is to have attitude change among our people and to put the available resources into use to create jobs,” he emphasized.

 Museveni said Uganda should emulate countries like South Korea and Japan whose nationals do not seek for jobs outside their countries.

The President was meeting the Regional Director of International Organization for Migration (IOM) Mohammed Abdiker in charge of East and the Horn of Africa who was accompanied by the UN Resident Coordinator, Rosa Malango.

Uganda has one of the highest population growth rates globally with more than 78% of its population below 30 years.

This is the productive age of many people but while the labour force is increasing with each passing year, the labour market is actually shrinking rendering it incapable of accommodating the 500,000 young Ugandans that join the labour market annually.

This makes labour export the most feasible alternative way out of this unemployment conundrum.

Uganda adopted the externalization of labour in 2005 as a measure to shed off its excess and abundant labour force though this policy has culminated into an industry that is lucrative but unregulated hence the making the need for regulatory processes more needed today than ever before.

Ugandan women were recently warned against the increasing number of criminal gangs in Kampala city who allegedly recruit girls on the streets promising them ‘juicy jobs in Malaysia and other East Asian countries and instead sell them into forced prostitution.

Remittances to Uganda have increased from $ 1.6 billion (Sh4.6 trillion) in 2016, to $ 2.0bn (Sh7 trillion in 2017 and they can only go higher as the labour export industry is regulated and formalized so that the nation can gain from the labour and exploits of her citizens.

Meanwhile, Museveni and Malango discussed the current political situation in the region including Somalia, South Sudan and the DRC.

During the meeting that was held at Independence Grounds at Kololo, the President said the political solution to Somalia was to senstize the nationals about the weaknesses of fronting issues of identity including tribal and religion as opposed to people’s common interests to achieve Socia-economic transformation, prosperity and political stability.

Mr. Mohammed Abdiker thanked the President for his tremendous input on two fronts mainly; fighting for the political stability of Somalia and South Sudan and combating Covid-19 pandemic.

He thanked the President for his support to IOM programmes on disaster response and refugees.

The post Museveni: We Don’t Encourage Export of Labour first appeared on ChimpReports.

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Opposition sidelined as Benin votes in presidential election | Elections News




With most rivals in exile or sidelined, Benin’s President Patrice Talon looks set to win a second term in office.

Voters in Benin are set to cast their ballots in a presidential election on Sunday, days after deadly protests against President Patrice Talon, who is heavily favoured to win a second term.

Talon, a cotton magnate first elected in 2016, faces off against two little-known rivals, Alassane Soumanou and Corentin Kohoue.

Opponents accuse the 62-year-old Talon of undermining Benin’s vibrant multi-party democracy by sidelining most of his main opponents.

Protests in several cities last week turned violent. At least two people died in the central city of Save when troops on Thursday fired tear gas and live rounds to break up protesters who had blocked a major highway. Five others were wounded.

In the commercial capital Cotonou, several people said they feared violence on election day.

“The events of these last days scare me,” said Christophe Dossou, a student. “I prefer to remain cautious.”

Benin’s President Patrice Talon denies targeting his opponents [File: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters]

Among the protesters’ complaints are Talon’s U-turn on a pledge he made as a candidate in 2016 to serve only one term, and changes he pushed through to election laws that he said were aimed at streamlining unwieldy government institutions. In practice, those reforms resulted in total control of parliament by Talon’s supporters and the exclusion of leading opponents from the presidential race.

One opposition leader Reckya Madougou was detained last month on accusations of plotting to disrupt the election, a charge her lawyer says is fabricated.

A judge from a special economic crimes court created by Talon also fled the country last week after denouncing political pressure to make rulings against the president’s critics, including the decision to detain Madougou.

Meanwhile, businessman Sebastien Ajavon, who came third in the 2016 presidential poll, was convicted of drug trafficking in 2018 and sentenced to 20 years in prison, while another potential rival, ex-finance minister Komi Koutche, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for embezzlement. Ajavon lives in exile in France, while Koutche lives in Washington, DC.

Talon denies targeting his opponents.

He has campaigned on his economic record, which includes improvements to key infrastructure such as roads, water and energy supplies.

Soldiers stand in line to block supporters of the incumbent president during an electoral campaign rally at Abomey-Calavi, on April 9, 2021 [Pius Utomi Ekpei/ AFP]

Benin, a country of about 12 million people, became Africa’s top cotton exporter in 2018 and recorded average annual gross domestic product growth of over 5 percent before the global economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“What we did was not easy,” Talon said at one of his final campaign rallies on Friday. “We are strong and we know how to get it done.”

He said he expects a “knock-out victory” for which there would be no need for a runoff vote.

The United States, German, French and Dutch embassies as well as the European Union delegation in Benin all called on Friday for calm and for the vote to go ahead in a free and transparent manner.

“We urge all parties to express their perspectives peacefully,” US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters. “We urge the electoral institutions and courts overseeing these processes and verifying these results to ensure these elections are conducted freely, fairly, and transparently.”

Results are expected to be announced on Monday or Tuesday.

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Trucks Traveling to Juba Get Military Escort




Government of Southern Sudan has agreed to provide full military security and safety to all road users including Ugandan cargo truck drivers plying Juba – Nimule highway starting this week.

This was reached during a meeting between South Sudan government and Ugandan authorities on Friday at Elegu One-stop Border point in Amuru district, Northern Uganda.

High level security officials from both countries met to deliberate on the deteriorating security along major highways in South Sudan in which eight Ugandan truck drivers have been shot dead by armed men in the past weeks.

The Sudanese high-level delegation was led by the country’s Chief of Defense Forces, Gen. Johnson Juma, Inspector General of Police, Gen. Majak Akech, and Director-General of Internal Security, Gen. Akol Khor.

The Deputy Commissioner General of the National Revenue Authority, Hon. Africano Mande was also present and four East African Ambassadors.

On the other side, Uganda’s delegation was led by Police Operations Director AIGP Edward Ochom, Director Crime Intelligence Col. Damulira among others high ranking officers.

“We have successively concluded our two days meetings with Ugandan authorities including the drivers who later agreed to resume the normal operation,” said South Sudan authorities.

“And as government, we assure them of full security on the major highways in the Republic of South Sudan and removal of the illegal road blocks and check-points for easy movement of trucks to Juba and others towns within the country.”

Last week, truck drivers from across the East African region protested the increasing insecurity in South Sudan, illegal taxes and also demanded for compensation of their deceased colleagues.

They parked their trucks at Elegu border and demanded for both governments to intervene before the situation deteriorates further.

In regards to compensation, Sudanese authorities agreed to pay for the victims but said that the process will be discussed through the foreign ministries of the two countries.

Although traders had also requested Ugandan authorities and in this case the UPDF to escort their goods to South Sudan, Lt.Col Deo Akiki said that “this can’t be a decision of UPDF. South Sudan is a sovereign State, therefore anything done on its territory at the moment has to be a bilateral matter beyond the two forces. It’s a government to government affair.”

ChimpReports understands that some trucks on Saturday left Elegu border for Juba under full security escort.

The post Trucks Traveling to Juba Get Military Escort first appeared on ChimpReports.

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