Civil society queries Muhakanizi’s accounting officers

The list of accounting officers which was recently submitted to Parliament by the Permanent Secretary to the Treasury, Keith Muhakanizi, has officers who did not account for moneys in the previous financial year, civil society organizations have claimed.

Officials from Civil Society Budget Advocacy and Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda (ACCU) have demanded that the list be withdrawn and the accounting officers in question be disqualified.

This was at a press conference held at the ACCU offices in Ntinda, a Kampala suburb Tuesday.

Last week, sources said that Muhakanizi had submitted to the Clerk to Parliament a list of accounting officers whom he had appointed for 2015/16 financial year and those he had dropped.

The accounting officers were for government ministries, agencies, districts, and Uganda’s foreign missions.

Copies of the list showed that about 60 accounting officers had been dropped over accountability issues.

The civil society demanded that Muhakanzi should submit new lists to Parliament. They, however, declined to name the accounting officers alleged not to have accounted for money in 2013/14.

“The accounting officers of those institutions with qualified opinions should have not been appointed,” Julius Mukunda, the coordinator of Civil Society Budget Advocacy group stated.

A qualified opinion is given when the auditor general is not satisfied that the accounts presented are a true and fair record of the actual.

Mukunda also asked the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga to reject the current list of accounting officers and demand a new updated list from Muhakanizi.

He also wants the PS to consider the Auditors General’s report FY 2013/14 as one of the criteria to select the new list of accounting officers.

Mukunda said that the submission of the list contravened section 13 (11) (d) of the new Public Finance Management Act, which stipulates that the minister shall be presented the annual budget with the list of accounting officers appointed or designated as under section 11 (2). He noted that the budget was passed in May without the list of accounting officers.

Cissy Kagaba, the ACCU’s executive director said that the list had major flaws especially the criteria of selecting the new accounting officers who do not comply with section 11 (2).

“We find that the criteria used were not restrictive enough to weed out the accounting officers who are not complaint with the law”. She said.

According to the Auditor Generals Financial report, FY 2013/2014, payment certificates revealed irregularities related to payment for works not executed, payments for defective works which Mukunda says it will crystalize into losses if management does not take measures to have them recovered.

The irregular payments noted for the projects were likely losses of sh45b, sh300m and nugatory expenditure of sh2b.

After analyzing the report, Mukunda says out of 108 statutory institutions, 37 had qualified opinions and two disclaimers who were supposed to even be remanded.

For Higher government, out of the 307, 91 failed to account for public funds and three disclaimers.

Source: New Vision

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