4 December 2012

Uganda: Kiira Town Council Under Corruption Watch

Kira town councillors have petitioned Parliament to investigate their town clerk, Uthman Sebaduka, for failing to supervise the council.

The councillors yesterday presented a petition to Parliament's Public Service and Local Government committee.

"We want Parliament to investigate [the Chief Administrative Officer] and town clerk who have not returned Shs 40m that they were ordered to return and have continued to lead to the loss of more funds for Kira town," said councillor Richard Kiyengo.

He argued that the money lost could be worth Shs 1bn in property tax, salaries and allowances. Accompanied by 14 colleagues, Kiyengo asked committee chairperson Florence Kintu (Kalungu Woman) to find out why officials implicated in the mismanagement of public funds had not been punished.

The councillors also want an investigation into the alleged embezzlement of Shs 580m, which they say was spent in fictitious projects. They say a further Shs 58m was collected in property tax but has not been declared.

"In the 2011 budget, council indicated that Shs 6m was spent for local administration police allowances but the final account submitted to the auditor general showed that they had spent Shs 16m, causing an unapproved extra expenditure of Shs 10m. When we asked the head of department, he denied that he had used all that money," reads in part an addendum to the petition.

The councillors' petition comes as police prepare to pay attention to the Local Government ministry, where billions of shillings are feared to have been swindled. Kira has the largest council budget in the country, at Shs 5.5bn, with Shs 2bn, raised locally.

It hosts Namugongo Martyrs Shrine, Mandela National Stadium Namboole and the Kabaka's palace in Kireka.

"Despite these advantages, service delivery does not match the revenue raised and this is exhibited by the failure of the town council to provide even the most basic services such as garbage collection, street lighting, desilting of main drainage, setting up a law enforcement department, a fully - fledged public health department, public toilets and a taxi park," said area MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda (Kyadondo East, FDC).

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