MBARARA CITY TECHNOCRATS IN TROUBLE OVER THE MISSING UGX6.4 BILLION

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Technocrats at Mbarara City Council have been tasked to explain the missing UGX6.4 billion that was meant to be spent in the financial year 2021/22.

The trouble has intensified after the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament-PAC discovered that the city council overpaid 22 staff by about Ugx3.8 million and underpaid some staff to the tune of about Ugx4.4 million.  There was also another overpayment of Ugx 2.5 million to six pensioners.

The committee led by Gulu West (Bardege-Layibi division) MP Martin Ojara Mapenduzi spent this week at Kamukuzi hill in Mbarara city western Uganda, where it grilled different accounting officers from 25 local government units of Ankole sub-region including city (Mbarara) districts and municipalities about queries that were raised in the Auditor General’s report for the financial year 2021/22.

While appearing before the committee on 28th February 2023, the current town clerk Assy Abireebe, Principal human resource officer Sulain Katusiime, principal treasurer Richard Kerere and Juliet Arinaitwe who was the then accountant and now promoted as the senior revenue officer, were asked to defend a number of issues arising from the inquiries into expenditure of the financial year 2021/22 which they failed, promoting the committee to give them one week to explain or be summoned to parliament for more grilling.

According to the Auditor General’s report, the Mbarara City Council failed to remit Ugx92 million to Mbarara City North division to execute its activities, and the money was subsequently sent back to treasury at the end of the financial year. A total of Ugx18.6 billion allocated to paying the staff salaries was unspent.

Furthermore, the committee observed that Mbarara City North Division had a revenue shortfall of about Ugx262 million out of Ugx1.7 billion projected revenue collection in financial year 2021/22.

The city town clerk Assy Abireebe attributed the errors in payments of staff salaries to non-automation of the incremental dates in the Integrated Personnel and Payroll System [IPPS] by the Ministry of Public Service for which the accounting officer has no control. He added that failure to absorb the staff funds was a result of an unapproved structure by the ministry of public service.

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