19 March 2018

Uganda: Mubende Chokes On Shs600m Debt

Kalangala — Mubende District Local Government authorities are trapped in huge debts which they say are frustrating service delivery.

According to the district leaders, Mubende has an outstanding debt of about Shs630 million, accruing from court cases the district lost to various individuals including sacked civil servants.

Mr Sheif Magezi Nsereko, the district secretary for finance and planning, said the cumulative debts have crippled several district projects and they can no longer address community needs.

"The Shs380 million that accrued from local revenue this financial year has been channeled to payment of the debts thus leaving us in the dilemma since we can't cater for service delivery of our people," Mr Nsereko lamented during an interview with Daily Monitor on Thursday.

He explained that various departments especially the statutory bodies have been greatly affected and that district councilors have not been paid their sitting allowances since last year.

"The district chairman, who is entitled to fuel is now required to improvise if he is to carry out any field visits because the district has no funds at the moment," he added.

Many of the cases the district has lost are as result of illegal termination of civil servants contracts, who are in turn awarded huge compensation costs from court.

For instance in 2015, the Mubende Chief Magistrates Court faulted the district for sacking Mr Bonifence Ndayabahika, a former chief finance officer and he was accordingly awarded Shs126m as legal costs.

When the debt was overdue, Mr Ndyabahika secured a court order freezing the district accounts thus forcing authorities to suspend some of the set priorities and divert the resources to pay him off.

Other cases

Other individuals the district owes money are; Mr William Musoke, the former town clerk (Shs104m) and Mr Isaac Modoi, the former chief Administrative officer ( Shs400m), among others who are now threatening to attach the district properties.

Mr Nsereko revealed that they are worried about other pending court cases which are likely to drain the district coffers the more.

"We are currently negotiating with the central government to help us pay off the debt because before we went ahead to terminate the contracts of the said people, we first consulted the solicitor general who probably misguided our decisions," he argued.

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