Energy Permanent Secretary Admits Misuse of Shs 9.2bn

A senior Energy ministry official today confessed before a parliamentary committee that his office had mismanaged at least Shs 9.2bn, which he failed to account for.

Paul Mubiru, currently acting permanent secretary in the ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, was appearing before the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament to respond to audit queries raised by the Office of the Auditor General in its 201314 report.

quotWe admit to indiscipline in the way we handle finances,quot said Mubiru after a verbal tug of war with members of the parliament oversight committee.

After Mubiru’s confession, PAC Chairperson Alice Alaso ruled that the accounting officer would be held liable for the loss that the government had incurred.

quotYou admit it [and] it amounts to budget indiscipline. You didn’t ask for permission from Finance. Therefore, we take the accounting officer liable for this query,quot she ruled.

Before his admission, Mubiru had tried to deflect the queries, saying the money had been used for emergencies but Alaso called him out on the claim. The point of contention was a query in an audit report showing that figures submitted did not reflect the true amounts expended on the respective items.

quotThe audit noted during the year under review, a sum of Shs 9.2bn was charged on items which do not reflect the nature of expenditure,quot said the auditor general.

In his response, Mubiru, the leader of the delegation, initially said that a mischarge came as a result of quotemergenciesquot like carrying out quotdue diligence on various projectsquot which the ministry had to undertake yet quotdonors had frozen their aid.quot

He explained that the breakdown of the emergencies ranged from travel abroad, unforeseen emergencies such as northern corridor summit requirements, and the transaction aisor services for the oil refinery project that should have been financed from donor aid, not the government budget.

However, Alaso, who was flanked by Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga) Ignatius Besisiira (Buyaga East, NRM), and Joseph Ssewungu (Kalungu West, DP) objected to the submission, saying the response was still unsatisfactory.

quotHow can a summit be an emergency can you be a little bit serious and fair to this committee?quot Alaso asked.

At that point, a disoriented Mubiru made his confession.

Source : The Observer

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