District officials in trouble over misuse of Shs 210mln for Budongo Seed School

MASINDI – Masindi district councilors want action taken against officials who allegedly diverted Shs 210 million meant for the procurement of ICT equipment for Budongo Seed School in Nyantonzi Sub-county.

In 2019 the government of Uganda earmarked Shs 2.1 billion for the construction of a fully-fledged Budongo Seed School but upon its completion in 2022 the ICT equipment worth Shs 210mln were not procured by the officers responsible.

This brought about a lot of suspicion among the leaders prompting them to start questioning what could have happened but in vain.

After the leaders failed to get answers two months ago, the district council chaired by Moses Kiirya the district council speaker formulated a  committee of five people to find out what could have happened to the money and make a report to the council.

On Friday last week, a committee headed by Mathius Tende the councilor representing Pakanyi Sub-county tabled a report indicating that Shs 210mln had been diverted to other activities like monitoring which was allocated Shs 61mln, Shs 92mln for development and Shs 56mln to school facility grant  [SFG], hence leaving the school unequipped.

Tender noted that the Ministry of Finance had specifically allocated shs 210mln as funds for equipment but in the district planning indicative planning figures equipment were not catered for.

“The committee upon further scrutiny and engagement with the education budget officer, the committee was informed that the department didn’t understand that Shs 210mln was meant for equipment,” explained Tender while presenting a report to the district council meeting.

“A sum totalling Shs 210mln intended for ICT and other equipment was diverted to other activities at the budgeting stage by the education department contrary to the provided indicative planning figures and guidance from the ministry of education and sports and this was considered diversion/ misappropriation,” he added.

Other findings 

According to the report, CMD investments, the contractor who undertook the construction of the Shs 2.1bln Budongo Seed School was overpaid by Shs 52 million making a total of Shs 2.155bln.

The committee also observed that the contractor had been paid Shs 74mln as retention fees before the defects liability period had elapsed.

“This was a big sum of money and the committee regarded this as an overpayment since defects had not yet been corrected,” noted Tende.

The committee also observed that it found out that the defects identified by the supervising engineer on the day of commissioning the school in May this year had not been corrected.

“The discovery of nonpayment of tax worth Shs 25mln, overpayment of Shs 74mln, use of Shs 210mln meant for ICT for other activities, and the Shs 51mln expenditure not shown puts the district in bad light. The two officers including the then district education officer, Francis Kyomuhendo, the acting district education officer Adolf Kato, the former chief administrative officer Geoffrey Nkurunziza should be compelled to record statements on alleged misuse of Budongo Seed School,” the committee recommended.

Sanyu Phiona, chief administrative officer Masindi said that the Parliamentary Accounts Committee would come to the district to follow up the same matter.

Emmy Ngabirano, the resident district commissioner  Masindi promised to take up the report as a working document and forward it to the investigating agencies.

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