Connect with us
  • POLITICS

    Our Officers Have Many Women: Ministry Of Defence Grilled Over Misuse Of Funds By UPDF

    Published

    on

     

    Legislators on the Parliamentary Accounts Committee quizzed officials from the Ministry of Defence, over the misuse of funds and fraud in the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF).

    The Ministry team, led by Under Secretary Edith Butoro, had appeared before the Committee to answer the 30th June 2016 audit queries, where John Muwanga exposed the accountability rot eating up the Force.

    The MPs raised concern after the audit report revealed that the Ministry was struggling with outstanding arrears of Shs718,433,532,863 and the debt comprised of pension and gratuity arrears Shs536,461,633,580, land compensation claims Shs78,396,271,647 and sundry creditors Shs103,573,627,636

    However, it was the monies for pensions and gratuity that angered MPs demanding answers on why officers that have served the force are being tossed around for their pension.

    This was after Buturo told the Committee that the Ministry carried out a verification exercise in 2010 to establish the actual number of pensioners but eight years down the road, the exercise is still ongoing.

    Although Buturo acknowledged that many of the pensioners are yet to receive payment, she noted that the Ministry’s arms are tied due to the limited resources envelop.

    She also said that the problem was worsened by the fact that the Ministry inherited the pensions payment from the Ministry of Public Service, following the decentralisation of payment of pensions and gratuity.

    The Ministry indicated that out of the Shs536Bn, only Shs16Bn has been paid, leaving a balance of Shs520Bn.

    When asked to present the schedule detailing the people who are yet to be paid and how much they are demanding, Buturo was hesitant saying it would raise expectations of the officers being paid, yet there was no money at the time.

    However, Angelline Osegge, PAC Chairperson rejected Buturo’s argument, wondering why the Ministry has turned the issue of pension political.

    “Every election time, you do this same thing of verifying pensioners. What does the information you collect help you to do. Why would you ask somebody to open an account when the money isn’t ready. How do you expect them to run those accounts?” Osegge asked.

    Buturo however refuted allegations that the Ministry has turned UPDF pensions subject political, saying the verification has to be undertaken to eliminate ghost pensioners.

    She blamed the lengthy exercise on the horny UPDF men arguing, “We don’t have efficiency problems. In the military, you find an officer with five women. Widows were coming up saying we belong to this man.”

    The land compensation claims amounting to Shs78,396,271,647 also raised eyebrows after it Gerald Karuhanga, Ntungamo Municipality MP accused Retired Colonel, William Omaria for ‘voluntarily giving out’ his land (23square miles) to UPDF and later turned his mind, only to claim compensation worth Shs28Bn and has so far been paid Shs7Bn.

    But Johnson Wepukhulu, Internal Auditor defended Omaria saying he didn’t voluntarily give out his land, but UPDF rather strategically occupied his land, a statement Karuhanga rejected, urging UPDF to admit the land was forcefully grabbed.

    MPs also pointed out the fact that Omaria is a ‘serial’ land grabber in Teso region and demanded for evidence showing he owned all that land. The Ministry that allegations of Omaria being a land grabber were brought forward and verification was done and turned out he owned the land, and actually has more land.

    Petro Bashaija’s Shs3.8Bn claim for 389 acres at Kabamba barracks in Mubende districts angered MPs, with Democratic Party’s Joseph Ssewungu saying an acre of land in Mubende can cost between Shs800,000 to Shs1M.

    Wepukhulu however defended the payments saying it’s caused by the Government Valuer attaching more value to the land as opposed to the value of land.

    The report also highlighted that on the 11th July 2015, the Ministry paid cash amounting to Shs389,150,350 to an account in a local bank in the names of a supplier to procure 100,000 liters of fuel.

    On the other hand, there is no justification why the Ministry paid cash instead of paying directly through EFT to the supplier. Besides, there was no evidence to confirm delivery of 100,000 liters of fuel. I was not provided with documentation to enable the auditors confirm that the fuel was delivered at the Ministry premises.

    During the audit process, the Ministry officials said that the institution required fuel to undertake urgent operations, yet the other suppliers in the same category were not willing to provide this fuel on credit as the Ministry’s debt has surpassed the credit limit.

    The auditors warned the Ministry to desist from paying cash and instead look at EFT as cash payments are prone to abuse.

    More controversies were reported in the fuel dealings within UPDF where Shs453,813,231 was paid out in cash on 8th October 2015 to urgently procure fuel and lubricants on grounds that the supplier had failed to supply fuel due to accumulated up paid debts.

    Details from the documents availed to Parliament shows that Shs391,895,650 was for fuel while Shs36,895,650 was for fuel through use of smart cards.

    Although the auditors were not provided with documentation to enable them confirm whether the fuel was delivered at the Ministry premises, with the only available photocopy relating to the loading schedule of this fuel was stamped received by the supplier on 2ndOctober 2015 a date earlier than when cash was paid out.

    The payment of Shs823,383,100 for the supply of tyres for operations during the 2016 elections on 27thMay 2016 revealed loopholes after a review of available support documentation revealed that the requisition was made on 29thJanuary 2016 to procure tyres from security budget of Shs1Bn.

    There was also no signed contract for the supply of tyres worth Shs823,383,100, while further scrutiny of the supporting documents revealed that these tyres were not supplied as the Ministry used tax invoices and delivery notes worth Shs788,286,591 from 2013/2014.

    In their explanations, the Ministry told the auditors that at the time of undertaking procurement for election security tyres, the Ministry owed the supplier Shs2.2Bn.

    Yet when the new call off order was issued for the election security activities and the company refused, a decision was taken to pay Shs823,383,100 as part payment of the old bills dating as far back as FY2013 using the election security tyres allocation of Shs1Bn to enable the company deliver the tyres.

    The report also indicated that a total of Shs1,748,483,7070 was paid to Nakasero hospital for settlement of medical bills for various officers and men who were referred to the hospital for treatment.

    However, a review of the supporting documents indicated that the officers referred to the hospital are meant to complete a medical form for the patient to sign on referral and after treatment, the forms were not filled by the patients and the hospital, a practice I find wanting because it can be abused.

    Additionally, the referring authority was found not to have control over the bills from the hospital because all bills are sent direct to the accounting officer without any input from the referring authority.

    The auditors also questioned why most of the referrals are made to the local hospital which is twice expensive instead of Mulago hospital, with the Auditor General warning that the continued reliance on private facilities will leave the Ministry without control on medical bills from this hospital, and the bills will escalate and failure to clear them on time could lead to litigation costs.

    It was also noted that the Ministry of Defence paid a total of Shs9,059,578,883 to Umeme for the electricity consumed by various units, but auditors weren’t availed with the detailed billing schedule from Umeme for all the accounts paid for the Ministry for the year to confirm whether all the billings were paid.

    “The Ministry had not reconciled outstanding bills at the year –end despite the fact that they exist. There is a risk that the reconciliation problems which would have been solved in financial year 2013/2014 when the joint team between the Ministry and Umeme was set up may reoccur,” as highlighted in the audit report.

     

    By Stella Mugoya

    Comments

    Click to comment

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    CRIME

    Minister Mao In Trouble As Lawyers Threaten To Petition Law Council Over Contempt Of Court Order…

    Published

    on

    Seasoned Kampala lawyer who also doubles as Mityana South legislator Richard Kizito Lumu has threatened to lead a team of lawyers to petitioned Uganda Law Council contesting the actions of Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Norbert Mao of violating legally issued court orders.

    Lumu claimed that Mao intentionally violated a Court Order issued by High Court Registrar Fasial Mulalira stopping Democratic Party (DP) National Executive Committee meeting which was held in Mbale city.

    Lumu explained that the Court Order resulted from a recent High Court judgment declaring Mao’s election as the DP presidential general illegal.

    However Mao insists that the said Court Order is fake and that it was forged by his competitors in the party who are challenging his political marriage with president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s government.

    Mao boasted that he is a highly trained lawyer who has been in legal practice since 1994 and he has enough experience to differentiate a fake Court Order and a real one.

    However, Counsel Lumu gave Mao only 24 hours from Sunday evening to report to police the complaint of forging a Court Order or they petition the Law Council.

    “Mao used his office as a minister in Museveni’s government to report the complaint to police and cause the arrest of the lawyer who extracted the Court Order. We are taking him to the Law Council for disciplinary action,” Lumu said.

    He claims that all the resolutions passed in the DP NEC meeting in Mbale are illegal and they are going to challenge them before the Courts of law.

     

    By Hadijjah Namagembe

    Comments

    Continue Reading

    NATIONAL

    FDC’s Amuriat Narrates How Besigye Forced Him To Meet Bobi Wine At Minister Ssebugwawo’s Home Before 2021 Elections…

    Published

    on

    NUP boss Bobi Wine (L) withDr.Kizza Besigye (R).Inset is Eng. Patrick Amuriat the FDC Najjanankumbi faction boss

    The president of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) Najjanankumbi function Patrick Amuriat Oboi has narrated how four times presidential candidate Dr. Kizza Besigye threatened him hence forcing him to meet National Unity Platform(NUP) president Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu (Bobi Wine) before the 2021 general elections.

    Amuriat revealed that Besigye summoned him together with Nathan Nandala Mafabi the party Secretary General and Joyce Nabbosa Ssebugwawo the former party vice president in charge of Buganda for an emergency meeting and because of the respect they have for him, they all attended the meeting.

    In the meeting, Amuriat claims that Besigye told them that he had made a political calculation by then and discovered that the only person who can bring political change in Uganda and overthrow Museveni’s government is Bobi Wine.

    He added that Besigye told them that FDC has to work with Bobi Wine and use his political base which is full of youths to force Museveni out of power.

    Amuriat disclosed that he did not allow them to give their side of the story.

    “Let me speak about this for the first time, Dr. Besigye told us that his proposal is not negotiable and we should follow what he was telling us to do. My friend Nandala Mafabi protested but Besigye told him that he does not care about his protest and if he declines to meet Bobi Wine, it is going to be the end of his cooperation with him,” Amuriat said.

    He further revealed that the meeting took place at Nabbosa’s home.

    Amuriat added that he pleaded with a furious Nandala to join themand they meet Bobi Wine as Besigye had asked them but he refused arguing that Besigye wanted to sell their party to Bobi Wine.

    Amuriat said that because of the respect he had for Besigye, he decided to meet Bobi Wine who also came at Nabbosa’s home.

    During the meeting, Besigye repeated his political calculations asking Bobi Wine to feel free and work with FDC which Bobi Wine accepted.

    However, he asked Amuriat why he was silent for the entire one and half hours without submitting anything or telling them whether he and his party were ready to work together.

    He told them that since he is just a president of the party, he needs time to consult his party leadership.

    He said that when he told other party members of what had happened in the meeting, they all advised him to concentrate on planning for his party because they were going to field a presidential candidate in the 2021 presidential race.

    “I was not surprised when Besigye, the person I campaigned for all the four times he stood for presidency and even lost my parliamentary seat refused to campaign for me in 2021,” Amuriat said.

    When I went to campaign in Kira municipality, our former party spokesperson Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda hid from me. Kampala Lord Mayor Ssalongo Erias Lukwago also did the same thing. I was told that they hid because they feared to associate with me to annoy Bobi Wine,” Amuriat added.

    He confirmed that he felt betrayed by his party members who decided to hide from him at the time when he needed them most.

    He further said that they openly welcomed Lukwago with open hands after he assured them that he was coming to their party with over 100,000 supporters from Kampala city and Buganda region and it was on this basis that they appointed him the national vice chairperson in charge of Buganda replacing Nabbosa who had joined NRM government as a minister.

    “Some of our members were scared with Lukwago’s coming to our party. They warned me that he was bringing trouble. But I don’t listen to them because it was a small issue. Little did I know that the man was coming to weaken our party,” Amuriat said.

    However, in defence, Ssemujju said that Amuriat threatened his political victory when he decided to drive him to the nomination place at Kyambogo knowing well that his voters were supporting Bobi Wine and didn’t vote for any candidate associated with other presidential candidates.

    “People all the way were laughing at me asking what thing I was driving but I stood my ground for the good of my people. Even at the polling station, only me and my wife Faridah were the only ones who voted for Amuriat,” Ssemujju said.

    He added that all their troubles with Amuriat and Nandala started from the dirty money he claims they picked from President Museveni to fight Bobi Wine in the 2021 general elections which Amuriat denied.

    Ssemujju and other FDC members at Katonga faction are currently on countrywide tours consulting their party members on the way forward after disagreeing with Amuriat’s Najjanankumbi faction.

    Chances are very high that Katonga function is going to establish a new political party which they plan to use as a vehicle during the coming 2026 general elections.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

    Comments

    Continue Reading

    NEWS

    OPINION: Does the opposition in Uganda ever learn from history? 2026 Coming Too Early For Warring Opposition Parties…

    Published

    on

    Does the opposition in Uganda ever learn from history? Counting from 1996, through 2001, 2006, 2011, 2016, 2021 and now on to 2026. The supposedly long-awaited transition from President Yoweri Museveni has eluded its promoters and will continue to do so into the future going by what’s unraveling right before our eyes.

    It’s a fact that 38 years for President Museveni in power is thanks to his ingenuity, tact, will power, performance, organisational capacity and divine anointing. On the other side of the political coin is the “shortness” of his opponents in the same categories. The opposition has told too many lies about their capacity and President Museveni’s standing with Ugandans. Time is catching up with them!

    Current happenings inside the main opposition parties, namely; FDC and NUP are giving us an early glimpse into what to expect in the near future. If it’s not splitting into splinter groups, it will be implosion or both, and there is no way that assures the concerned parties of success in any endeavor. Even without looking at elections, operating a healthy, functional and cohesive political organisation is an achievement, which comes with benefits in terms of competitiveness in the field of play.

    Presently, FDC is a shadow of its former self. First, Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu who had been its chief organizer and president at some point, defected to start his own party, ANT. He took with him some of FDC’s big wigs and members.

    As he departed, he prophesied that time would, contrary to accusations leveled against him, expose the real moles in his mother party.

    Then last year, time matured! After a hiatus in which he feigned lack of interest in public activity, including boycotting contesting in the 2021 elections, Besigye emerged at the head of a faction based at Katonga road (in Kampala) crying foul that the party he once headed and on whose ticket he contested for President four times, had been infiltrated and that the incumbent party President and 2021 presidential flagbearer, Patrick Amuriat Oboi and Secretary General, Nandala Mafabi, knew something about the development.

    He exposed the behind-the-scenes of the party’s 2021 elections status which by no chance could have allowed the party to fare any better. The formerly most powerful opposition party was upstaged by the new NUP which currently has majority members in the House.

    Amuriat himself came third while President Museveni won comfortably.

    Besigye didn’t campaign for Amuriat, and when last year he came out on why he didn’t feature on the campaign trail, the excuse was that “dirty money” had come into the party and he didn’t want to associate with it.

    Nevertheless, with or without whichever money, FDC slipped in its rankings and as we talk, it will only be a miracle if it doesn’t split into two-Besigye is consulting on how to form a new party. But the bad blood is literally boiling between his supporters and those of the Najjanankumbi faction. The other day they fought during the burial of activist Sarah Eperu in Ngora.

    Daily, they are exchanging bitter words and accusations, all the while exposing their dirty linen which can only leave party members embarrassed and regretting their choice of belonging. Going into 2026, it means that what was left of FDC supporters in 2021 after the emergence of NUP and ANT will again be shared between Besigye and whoever remains of the official party will front.

    On the other hand, NUP which displaced FDC is equally in turmoil, with the membership split between party president, Kyagulanyi Sentamu (Bobi Wine) and former LOP, Matthias Mpuuga. The latter is “accused” of benefiting from a service award and he has stood his ground and defended himself. A defector from DP, Mpuuga was already targeted by the radical wingers in NUP apparently for being moderate in his approach.

    Without elders at hand to mediate some of these differences, NUP will struggle to survive an internal split. At a time when building structures and setting a clear policy agenda would help set its roots, the quarrels and fights will certainly do the opposite.

    Why is money such a disorganising factor in these parties? It has to do with absence of a strong programme and ideology to unite members and to sell to Ugandans. Absence of ideas creates room for shallowness, gossip, intrigue, suspicion and faultfinding which recipe is disastrous for any organised group. If the trend continues, we know who will not make much of 2026.

    President Museveni prophesied and warned us about the functionality of political parties in societies still on the mend. It’s a dangerous game which creates fertile ground for dividing our people. If members of the same parties are hard on each other as we see in NUP and FDC, how hard are they on those belonging to other parties? Why can’t we learn from the post-independence era and the errors of political groups which worked for narrow interests as opposed to national causes?

    At various intervals, there have been attempts to build coalitions and unifying pressure groups. On each occasion, I have predicted that such coalitions cannot hold since there is nothing in common between the allying partners except fighting to remove President Museveni from power.

    Every single time they try and fail the public loses trust in them and retreats to the President’s side. As we talk, the fights in opposition parties are benefitting NRM. I have personally received lines of defectors approaching me to take them to the President, some with sensitive and intriguing secrets indicating why they are running away from sinking ships.

    2026 is coming too early for warring opposition parties. Time will reveal it!

     

    Faruk Kirunda is the Deputy Press Secretary to the President of Uganda

    Contact: kirundaf2@gmail.com

    0776980486/0783990861

    Comments

    Continue Reading

    like us

    TRENDING

    theGrapevine is a subsidiary of Newco Publications Limited, a Ugandan multimedia group.
    We keep you posted on the latest from Uganda and the World. COPYRIGHT © 2022
    P.O Box 5511, Kampala - Uganda Tel: +256-752 227640 Email: info@thegrapevine.co.ug
    theGrapevine is licenced by Uganda Communications Commission (UCC)