News and Views
Uganda- ICT ministry squanders $1.3-million
According to a 2010/ 2011 report issued by Uganda’s Auditor General, officials in the country’s Ministry of Information & Communication Technology (ICT) failed to account for almost $1.3-million, which was spent on various items not relating to ICT.
According to the AG’s report, sh750m was used for rented premises for the 12 months running from August 2010 to August 2011. However, the ministry used the rented space after six months had elapsed, the report shows.
Committee chairperson Paul Mwiru quizzed the department over the rental agreement as well as occupation of the building. “Why did you hurry to pay for the rent which the ministry never used for six months,” he asked.
According to the New Vision, “the AG report also queried sh60m found on the ICT ministry’s account, but was not remitted to the consolidated fund. ‘If the money was not utilized by the ministry, why did you delay to remit it to the consolidated fund?’,” lead counsel Vincent Kyamadidi of Rwampara county asked.
As part of the audit, it was also revealed that sh24m was deducted from workers, but the funds were not remitted to the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) – which is a crime under Article 164 of the Constitution.
“The committee recommends that the salaries of the officers who failed to remit the money to NSSF, should be attached to pay the workers’ money in NSSF,” Alice Alaso (Serere) said.
It also came to light that sh78m was paid for electricity bills, but the relevant people had no proof of payment. “We suspect fraud in this transaction. You don’t have power bills, why do you pay for electricity which the ministry never consumed,” Alex Byarugaba (Isingiro South) asked.
After the proceedings, Committee chairperson Mwiru said that something had to be done about the situation. “This is organized crime where people are swindling tax payers. Three years have passed and you’ve failed to account for the money. We can’t give you more time,” Mwiru said.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor