Shs 665m Akii-Bua Stadium Money Well Spent – Ministry

Shs 665m Akii-Bua Stadium Money Well Spent – Ministry

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By Our Reporter

The Education and Sports Ministry has responded to parliament’s handling of a query on the construction of Akii-Bua Olympic stadium, insisting they disbursed all monies to local government.

Early this week, the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprise-COSASE detained Lamex Omara Apitta, the Commissioner Physical education under the Education and Sports Ministry for alleged mismanagement of the money advanced for the stadium works.

Before he was handed over to police, Omara told MPs that government had disbursed Shs 665million for the construction of the stadium. But in twist of events, the Lira chief administrative officer (CAO), Mark Tivu said a day later that the district had only received Shs received 300 million that they spent on clearing the 12-acre site which involved uprooting trees, leveling the ground, opening boundaries and access roads, draining the swamp, construction of a pit latrine and the construction of a 200-seater pavilion.

However, the Education Ministry Permanent Secretary, Andrew Kibenge, insists they disbursed sh665 million to Lira district.

He explains that the ministry channeled sh400 million to Lira district local government in the 2015/2016 financial year, sh175M in the 2016/2017 financial year and sh90M in the 2017/2018 financial year. Kibenge says there could have been an information gap but their records show that Lira district received sh665million.

Kibenge explains that Lira district asked for Shs 665 million for opening the boundaries of the land earmarked to host the facility, clear and level the field of 18.455 hectares, construction of access roads and drainage channels. He says work has been progressing well except for the misinformation about the alleged misuse of the funds.

“Demarcation of two temporary football fields, a basketball and volleyball field, construction of a 3 stance latrine and a 150 seater temporary pavilion has been made,” Kibenge said in an interview.

The Lira Chief Administrative Officer, Mark Tivu, has since backtracked on his earlier claims that they only received sh300million. In his October 30th letter to the Permanent Secretary, Tivu confirms having received sh665M. He also attached copies of audited payment vouchers on the letter detailing how the money was spent.

“It is important to note that all activities were implemented as planned based on the funding received and there was no audit queries raised as far as the implementation were concerned,” reads the letter.

He explains that they need an additional Shs 260 million for the construction of changing rooms, guest pavilion and also installing culverts.

Omara, the commissioner physical education in the Education ministry, says only Shs 80 million was used to construct the pavilion at the stadium, while Shs 150 million went to survey the land, bush clearing, leveling, demarcation and grading the hardcore surface.

He explains that another Shs 120 million was spent on paying compensation for the land, graveling, marrum works, draining the swamp, planting grass and selected trees. Omara says most the preliminary work went towards preparation of the site and not construction.

According to the original plan of the stadium, it is expected to cost $47m (about Shs 175bn). Once completed, the stadium is expected to come second to the Namboole stadium in Kampala.

“The money is supposed to come from China, and the ministry of Finance and planning and the Office of the Prime Minister are looking at this. If it is to be the stadium that people expect it cannot just cost Shs 600m,” Omara said.

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