The Parliament Committee on Public Accounts (Local Government) has recommended that the Secretary to the Treasury (PSST) at the Ministry of Finance should hold the accounting officers personally liable, for authorizing advances that were unaccounted for.
Citing Kole District Local Government, the committee recommended that the accounting officer and the chief finance officer and other respective heads of departments be reprimanded for contravening legal financial provisions.
According to the committee report, the Auditor General observed that a total of shs349.5 million in respect of staff advances and fuel deposits was not accounted for, and audit was unable to confirm that the funds were utilized for the intended purposes.
The committee also observed that there was laxity by the accounting officer in ensuring strict adherence to the provisions of the Financial and Accounting Regulations, 2007 leading to financial loss.
“The committee recommends that full recovery be made from the officers who received the cash advances or the accounting officer, CFO and the respective heads of departments make good, the losses within three months from the time of adoption this report,” reads the report in part.
The report was presented by the Committee Chairperson, Hon. Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, during plenary sitting on Friday, 06 January 2023.
The committee also observed that in Masindi Municipal Council, there were irregularities in the cash flow statements of shs120.4 million because the advances were not supported by detailed schedules and bank statements to confirm the authenticity of the figures reported in accounts.
The committee recommended that the municipal council’s accounting officer should ensure that reconciliation is carried out and up-to-date records of the schedules are made available to ease to tracking of cash flows or recoveries.
The committee report focused on the report of the Auditor General for Financial Year 2020/2021 on 49 district local governments, six cities and five municipal councils.
The committee noted that the worst performing entities in terms of absorption capacity as Hoima City (30 per cent), Kitgum Municipal Council (36 per cent), Gulu City (36 per cent) and Masaka City (37 per cent).
Entities that absorbed 100 per cent of their releases were Arua City, Kitagwenda District Local Government, Terego District Local Government and Madi Okollo District Local Government.
“The Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development should account for the under release for the funds to the local governments. Accounting officers under whose supervisions local governments fail to utilize funds released to them should be held personally liable,” Mapenduzi said.
The committee also made case studies and recommendations on payment of salaries, pension and gratuity, operationalization of new cities and implementation of the Uganda Road Fund, among others.
The Minister for Local Government, Hon. Raphael Magyezi said the report will help government and the local governments to improve on management and accountability for funds.
“Government will implement the recommendations of the report and give feedback to Parliament in terms of actions taken at each entity,” Magyezi said.
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