What you need to know:
- The 2020/2021 audit report indicated that while the management of the hospital requested for Shs408.2 million for gratuity, the ministry sent Shs1.2b
The members on Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee yesterday faulted officials from Ministry of Finance for sending more money to Mubende Regional Referral Hospital than it had budgeted for in the 2020/2021 financial year.
The 2020/2021 audit report indicated that while the management of the hospital requested for Shs408.2 million for gratuity, the ministry sent Shs1.2b.
Appearing before the committee yesterday, the team led by Dr Alex Andema said they could not spend the Shs700m excess as it was way above their budget.
“We did not know what to do with the money so at the end of the financial year, it was taken back. On the wage bill, it is also true the money was provided but we could not recruit the staff because of the Covid-19 lockdown so the money was taken back to the consolidated account,” Dr Andema told the committee.
Dr Andema added that when they notified the ministry officials verbally, they were told to keep the money.
“We did not notify them in writing but we made verbal communications and the response we got was that let the money be, so we had no option,” he said.
The committee members wondered how the anomaly occurred.
Mr Asuman Basalirwa (Bugiri Municpality ), the deputy chairperson of the committee, who chaired yesterday’s session, said such cases are not isolated and could have been an avenue to attempt to steal the gratuity money.
“I think people in Ministry of Finance wanted to steal money through Mubende, this is what I am observing. What happened is that ministry sent more money than what Mubende requested for. Actually the Auditor General has advised that we ask Finance to explain,” he said.
Ms Sarah Opendi, the Tororo District Woman MP, said in every release to the regional referral hospital, the funds are more than what was requested.
She wondered how the ministry broke its tradition of normally releasing less than what has been budgeted.
Ms Opendi said in most of the ministries, agencies and departments, the ministry usually releases less money but Mubende has been an exception.
“If you look at the gratuity alone, the initial approval was Shs1.6b. Yet, the submission by the hospital director for gratuity to the permanent secretary Ministry of Public Service was Shs408 million. This is a serious case because the amount has been tripled. I am just wondering on what basis was this amount released,” she said.
The committee resolved that Finance officials are summoned at a later date to explain the anomalies.