6 December 2018

Uganda: District Engineer Under Probe Over Missing Funds

Lyantonde — Lyantonde leaders have tasked the district engineer to refund to the district treasury Shs14.6 million which he reportedly received as rental fees but failed to deposit to the authorised accounts.

Mr Francis Kiwanuka, is accused of receiving Shs14.6m from Proprietors of Silex Engineering Group as payment for land rented at the district headquarters to keep their works equipment between 2016 and 2017 but the officer reportedly failed to forward the money to the district council treasury.

The district financial year report for 2016/2017 released by the Principal internal auditor implicates Mr Kiwanuka as having caused the financial loss.

According to the district auditor, Mr Maurice Ssebowa, this tantamounts to fraud since he allegedly failed to notify any of his supervisors about the money he received on behalf of the district council.

The engineer who acknowledges receipt of the money failed to remit it to the district treasury as expected. The explanations he gave could not convince the audit committee since the money is not accounted for," Mr Ssebowa explained in his audit report released to the district council recently.

Recommendation

They recommended that Mr Kiwanuka refunds the money with an interest.

"We are right now experiencing poor service delivery due to acts involving officials who divert funds for personal use," Mr Ssebowa added in his statement.

Mr John Katakanya, a member of the District Public Accounts Committee, claims that a big number of projects have stalled due to fraudulent actions by departmental heads and individual officers at the district.

"We are considering handing over this particular case to the Inspector General of Government (IGG) for further management. The cases reflect a bad image and should be investigated to their final conclusion with the aim of recovering lost funds," Mr Katakanya said.

Mr Kiwanuka in defence, however, insists that at the time he received the money from Silex Engineering Group, the district did not have a substantive financial officer to receive the funds.

"The district cash office had a lot of problems. I could not risk the district funds under such an office," Mr Kiwanuka told the district council session recently.

The Council has given Mr Kiwanuka 60 days to refund the money.

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