The Inspector General of Government (IGG), Ms Beti Olive Kamya, has commenced investigations into the alleged misuse of Shs9b by the Ministry of Agriculture officials.
However, Ms Kamya did not reveal when investigations will be concluded, saying she cannot give a timeline now since the exercise involves gathering information.
“I have directed the director at the Inspectorate to start the investigation process and it’s already ongoing,” Ms Kamya said in an interview last Friday .
This follows an investigation by Daily Monitor, whose findings were published last week showing that unnamed government officials from the Ministry of Agriculture wired about Shs9 billion to two agricultural training institutions ostensibly for settlement of students’ feeding bills and infrastructure development, despite all schools being closed during Covid-19-induced lockdown.
According to our investigations, money was sent to the Fisheries Training Institute in Entebbe, Wakiso District and Bukalasa Agricultural College in Wobulenzi, Luweero District in several tranches between October 2020 and August, with some of the expenditure appearing to be repeated.
After our story was published, the Minister of Agriculture, Mr Frank Tumwebaze, in a tweet said they had written to the Auditor General to audit the alleged expenditure.
“Dear Daily Monitor, I read your story about this alleged misappropriation of funds of agriculture training institutions in 2020 or there about, before myself and the Permanent Secretary joined the ministry. We have written and asked the Auditor General to audit the alleged expenditure and give a report,’’ the minister tweeted.
Efforts to reach the the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Maj Gen David Kasura Kyomukama, were futile as he did not answer our repeated calls.
Earlier, when asked about the expenses and multiple disbursements, which appear to be anomalies in the wake of school closures, Gen Kyomukama said no such audit query had been raised in the 2020/2021 Financial Year, but nonetheless his team will investigate the allegations.
“The ministry [of Agriculture] is not aware of any reported cases of misuse of funds. However, since the emergence of the story, management has tasked the relevant offices to look into the matter,” Mr Kyomukama said.
Our investigations also reveal that Shs83m, Shs80m, Shs73.4m, Shs82m, and Shs8.4m were wired to the Fisheries Training Institute’s accounts on December 4, 2020 for review of diploma in boat building and marine mechanics, diploma in fisheries management and technologies, certificate in agriculture and diploma in agriculture, animal industry and fisheries courses.
At Bukalasa Agricultural College, Shs40m was sent in three instalments on May 10 for industrial trainings, and a day later, Shs96m was disbursed to procure stationery and instructional materials alongside Shs240m to “renovate livestock farms”.
On March 10, officials transferred Shs380m for “settlement of students’ feeding bills” and topped it up on the same day with Shs141m meant for Institute of Fisheries’ perimeter fencing works, refills and painting of lecture rooms and blocks.
In addition, Shs159m was on March 10 allocated for “repair of the main gate and upgrading of on-campus driveways to bitumen, another Shs158m was disbursed on the same day for sewerage and drainage systems repairs and Shs140m and Shs63m for gabion reinforcement and surface water drainage and for aquaculture unit and hatchery, respectively.
Hostel blocks and aquaculture unit cost Shs12m while expenditure on electrical repairs at the Fishers Institute was Shs13m, according to records of the financial transactions.