The Lwengo Chief Administrative Officer, George Ntulume and the Chief Financial Officer, Paul Sserwadda are on the spot for spending public resources without the necessary approvals. The duo is accused of spending Shillings 318million from the supplementary budget without due authorization from the district council.
Last month, Lwengo district received Shillings 1.13 billion budget support from the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to finance supplementary expenditures in departments of Health, Education, Production, Natural Resources and Water whose annual approved programmes were halfway implemented due to financial shortfalls.
However, during the district extraordinary council meeting convened to consider the supplementary budget and review the quarterly performance reports, the council discovered that the officials had already spent part of the supplementary budget without the knowledge and approval of the district executive and council.
Ibrahim Kitatta, the Lwengo district LC V chairperson who presented the supplementary budget framework paper to the council was surprised to learn that the money was less by Shillings 318 million. On inquiring from Sserwanda, he revealed to the council that part of the money was spent on implementing the Polio vaccination exercise in the area.
According to Sserwadda, the funds were disbursed on the instructions of the CA after receiving a requisition from the District Health Officer to conduct the vaccination exercise. His explanation stirred a bitter controversy from councillors who accused the technical officers of misusing their offices for suspicious intentions.
Led by Elisa Ndeleyimaana, the representative of Kyazanga Sub County, the irritated councillors called for the reprimand of the officers for insubordination and undermining the council, which is the supreme organ of the district.
Ndeleyimaana claimed that this could have been a deliberate plot by the technical officers to misappropriate public resources for personal gains, arguing that there is no way councillors can monitor activities whose expenditures they didn’t approve.
Ndeleyimaama asked Peregrino Ssenozi, the Lwengo district council Speaker to institute a special committee to investigate the three officials.
Annah Ninsiima, the district youth councillor demanded that the three officers be compelled to formally explain their misconduct, arguing this may not be the first time they are doing the same.
Ibrahim Kitatta, the Lwengo district chairperson noted that this anomaly has prompted them to thoroughly scrutinize all the departmental expenditure reports, warning of dire repercussions to officers who will be found guilty of similar irregularities.
George Ntulume, the Lwengo Chief Administrative Officer did not show up in council to explain the questioned expenditure. However, Paul Sserwadda, the Chief Financial Officer told URN that the money was spent on the payment of health workers who conducted the polio vaccination exercise.
He said that the health teams wanted their wages and there was no way they could wait for the council to get the necessary approvals. Section 30 (3) of the Local Government Act of 1997 mandates the district council to carry out autonomy roles in planning and financial management while carrying out their function in the areas of jurisdiction.
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