By Moses Kyeyune.
The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament has recommended for the sacking of Mr Kagole Kivumbi as Secretary to the Judicial Service Commission over alleged misappropriation of funds.
The committee chaired by Soroti Woman MP Angeline Osegge, noted in its report on the audit inquiry of 2016/17 that Mr Kivumbi diverted funds from actual budget allocations.
According to the report, whereas the commission received 3.356 bn (99.6%) of the budgeted 3.374 bn, a number of planned outputs were not implemented, constraining service delivery and the purpose of budgeting and budgetary controls.
MrKivumbi is said to have attributed the diversion of funds to ‘urgent needs’ within the Commission, when he appeared before PAC last year.
“The Accounting Officer (MrKivumbi) responded that the under performance was due to reallocation of funds from Barazas to cater for recruitment activities, reallocation of funds from desk sets to buy furniture for the new members of the Commission and under release of Funds by the Ministry,” reads the report in part.
The report adds that, “this practice undermines the importance of the budgeting process and results into financial misreporting.”
The Public Finance Management Act under Section 79 (1) (q) provides that a mischarge is irregular and constitutes an offence.
As a sanction, the committee has recommended for MrKivumbi to be sacked.
“The Accounting officer should be relieved of his/her duties and should never be re-appointed in accordance with Section 79 (1) (q), 79 (2) and 80,” the report reads.
The committee further observed that that the budget process was not streamlined to allow sufficient funds to each account and that “budget controls were adamantly not adhered to such as seeking authority for any reallocation.”
As a stop gap measure, the committee has recommended for the streamlining of the budget process to ensure that sufficient funds are allocated to each account.
The lawmakers also want accounting officers to ensure strict adherence of budget controls, which include seeking authority for resource appropriation from Parliament.
The committee also raised concern over the delayed disposal of cases within the complaints management system, leaving the case backlog at 614 at the time of writing the report.
However, the auditor general, Mr John Muwanga, in his new audit report of 2018 highlighted the continued existence of such backlogs.
The report also noted a number of unimplemented activities over payment of pension worth shs 30.8 million and low absorption of funds, resulting into an unspent balance of Shs 995 million.
Parliament is yet to debate the report.
Early this year, the deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah, said that delayed handling of PAC reports has created room for accounting officers to escape justice.