Local government accounts committee has branded Alebtong and Apac districts as the ‘Dirty Ends’ of Lango sub-region.
The description comes after the committee led by the Aswa County MP, Reagan Okumu discovered that the two districts have numerous cases of fraud and gross financial mismanagement of public funds for personal interest.
Okumu says the recent assessment by the Office of the Prime Minister [OPM] puts Alebtong district among the least performing districts in terms of service delivery.
“Alebtong has been a problem. We don’t want Alebtong and Apac to continue being the lame side of Lango. You are the dirty ends and for two years you have been there and I want Chief Administrative Officer [Alebtong] to pull up his socks. Fortunately, you sat here and you heard what Apac is doing now…the CAO has started discovering things. If you continue like this, we will just demand for interdiction so that thorough investigations take place,” Okumu tells Alebtong CAO, Mbaagwa Muwonge Abdulnoor.
In February this year, Muwonge was accused by Resident District Commissioner, Andrew Awany of inflating district budget for fiscal year 2017-2018 by over shs.73 million.
The budget for Alebtong for 2017-2018 fiscal year was approved at shs.20, 050,121,000 but got overblown by under pressure accounting officer, Muwonge to shs20, 123,145,000.
In Apac, the Chief Administrative Officer, Stella Abyeto was directed to recover more than two hundred million shillings [shs.200m] allegedly paid to bank accounts of some individuals in the district.
Okumu also pledged to team up with the IGG to conduct a special audit and investigation in Apac following series of financial misappropriation by greedy and selfish individuals there.
“The committee discovered that there is a financial fraud at the Ministry of Finance and Apac district officials to the extent that public funds are being transferred to individual accounts and the accounting officer discovered this. This matter therefore requires urgent and broader investigations to establish those individuals at the Ministry of Finance engaged in these activities,” PAC chairperson added.
Also, the Alebtong district CAO was also directed to recover more than shs.39m wrongly and unlawfully paid to some district officials.
The committee also found that the district is dominated by those [officers] in acting positions including the district engineer, to what it says contrary to the public service standing order which mandates an officer to act for only six months.
Denis Hamson Obua, the Ajuri County Member of Parliament blamed the introduction of Integrated Financial Management System [IFMS], noting that the technology is doing more harm than good in promoting corruption in the country.
“We must realign ourselves as a government whether in Lango, at the regional or national level to handle the question of system crime. What we are dealing with is what we term in law as system crime,” Obua, one of the PAC members opined.
Adding: “This is a system where technocrats get themselves organized from Bank of Uganda through the Ministry of Finance, even at Auditor General’s office, Accountant General and the different entities and monies are wired. You can imagine a situation like in Apac where in the national financial database resources have been released to the district.”
The local government accounts committee of Parliament is mandated to handle audit queries in all the districts in the country and where problem is detected, legal actions are taken.