By Andrew Irumba
Masaka: Two district officials were on Tuesday arrested for failing to account for government funds worth over Shs100m.
Daston Mukasa Yiga, the Gomba District Chief Administrative Officer and Herbert Mutyaba Kaggwa, the Principal District Engineer, are under fire for failing to provide accountability of road funds allocated to the district. The officers on Tuesday appeared before the Parliamentary Local Governments Accountability Committee which convened in Masaka district, to respond to accountability queries raised by the Auditor General’s reports for the 2017/18 financial year.According to AG’s report, the district was allocated Shs382.12 million under the Uganda Road Fund program, but the officers could only account for Shs187 million. Judith Franca Akello, the committee chairperson and Woman Member of Parliament for Agago district, tasked the officers to provide the expenditure records of a balance of Shs195.5 million which they failed to avail, either as documentary evidence or through satisfactory explanations.
Although Mutyaba attempted to convince the committee that the money was spent on routine mechanized and manual road maintenance activities, lifting of swaps and heavy grading in the area, his explanation was found insufficient and accordingly ordered to testify under oath. The committee established that the district contracts committee inflated the cost of culverts fixed in some maintained roads in the area to falsify accountability reports. According to the availed reports, the district procured a total of 12 culverts of 600 millimeters radius at Shs360,000 and Shs980,000 each, which the committee also disputed on grounds that the figure was unrealistic. Neither the CAO nor the Engineer could provide detailed information on particulars of the suppliers of the culverts, the contract and the receipts of acknowledgement of the payments allegedly made, which raised more eyebrows. On failing to provide accountability, the committee instructed the officers to record statements with the parliamentary Police’s investigations department. They were also given one day to avail all accountability records pertaining the expenditure of Road Funds released to the district since the 2016 financial year. The committee also tasked the CAO to recover a total of Shs2.7 million allegedly spent on the District Roads Committee, whose accountability is also not supported by any documentary evidence. Failure to do as required will leave the Committee with no option but to recommend the CAO and Engineer for disciplinary action.