Uganda’s ICT ministry permanent secretary Dr. Jimmy Saamanya has been taken to task over lack of accountability for funds allocated to his department.
The Paul Mwiru-led Parliamentary Accounts Committee questioned Dr. Samanya on several transactions, including office rent payment, electricity bills receipts, allowances to staff among others, while probing the usage of USh3.5 billion ($1.4 million) found questionable following the Auditor General’s report 2010/2011.
Responding to the committee on the issue of office rent, Dr. Samanya defended his department against accusations of taxpayer funds wastage, explaining that the ministry had been unable to utilise office premises to which it had already remitted rental fees amounting to USh750 ($29,000) given “the lack of office furniture.”
He said the slow procurement process had led to the delay in occupying the offices.
Dr. Samanya was also at pains to explain why funds amounting to USh60 million ($23,260) were not utilised in his ministry.
The Public Accounts Committee further inquired into how various bills were paid but no records of receipts were available, in particular electricity bills amounting to USh78 million ($30,240) which the Auditor General’s report had raised a red flag on.
The committee also put the allowances paid to ministry staff workers when Uganda hosted the African Union Summit in 2010 amounting to USh51 million shillings ($19,750) to question after the receipts lacked signatures.
Dr. Samanya’s request for more time to avail the signed list of workers was clamped down on by the committee, which argued that this would easily give leeway for forgery of the signatures. The PS however declared ignorance of USh24 million ($9,300) being deducted from workers and not remitted to the NSSF.