By Andrew Irumba
Heads are set to roll at the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the National Medical Stores (NMS) after officials in both government entities failing to account for over Shs9.6Bn.
This shocking revelation was made on Friday when MOH Permanent Secretary Diana Atwiine, Under-Secretary Segawa Gyavira and other officials were appearing before parliament’s Public Accounts Committee.
SpyUganda has learnt that MOH disbursed the said money to NMS to procure uniforms for health workers, beddings, productive gears and other items, but the officials cannot ably show how they spent the money.
The PAC inquiry stems from two Auditor General Reports for financial year ending June 2017 and financial year ending June 2018.
In the June 2017 report, Shs4.6Bn was disbursed to NMS and later another Shs5Bn according to the June 2018 report to procure the items.
John Muwanga, the Auditor General, in the June 2018 report, indicates that an examination of vouchers revealed that the Health Ministry disbursed Shs5Bn to NMS to cater for procurement of uniforms, beddings and productive gears which would cost Shs3Bn and printing, stationery, photocopying and binding which would cost Shs2Bn.
However, Muwanga said that this was done under the Ministry’s approved Funds for Monitoring, Supervision and Evaluation of Health Systems under project 1027 for Institutional Support to Ministry of Health.
“The funds had not been accounted for by the close of the year. In the absence of the required supporting documentation, audit was unable to confirm the authenticity and validity of the expenditure,” reads Muwanga’s report in part.
He also notes int the report that despite an explanation that NMS was to acknowledge funds, issue receipts and also upon procurement and distribution provide details of delivered items and recipient facilities, none of these were in place at the time of audit.
When the officials failed to show PAC accountability for the money, Nathan Nandala Mafabi, the Commitee Chairman, tasked Gyavira to explain whether there is any agreement with NMS concerning the procurement and delivery of uniforms, beddings and productive gears.
Gyavira revealed that there was no agreement but that their understanding was for NMS to use its procurement system to deliver the items and offer them accountability.
But Fredrick Angura, the Tororo South MP, faulted the Health Ministry for availing money to NMS without any clear procurement plan and agreement. Angura said that the Ministry’s actions surrendered their accountability role for funds appropriated by parliament something that he said cannot be tolerated.
When he was tasked by Nandala to shed more light about the procurement plan for the items, Gyavira apologized, saying that the purchase was not included in the Health Ministry procurement plan.
Nandala later resolved that PAC would directly engage NMS General Manager Moses Kamabare and other officials there to account for the money, after it was revealed that some of the medical uniforms bought were purchased at Shs690,000 each.