Masindi: Councillors, CAO disagree over Shs 269mln

MASINDI – Masindi district  councillors and the chief administrative officer [ CAO ], Phionah Sanyu have disagreed over Shs 269 million meant to be disbursed to the beneficiaries in the current financial year that ends on July 1, 2023.

The disagreement between the sides emerged on Monday during the council meeting after Kassimu Kabagoza, the leader of government business who is also the district vice chairperson of Masindi district council, disclosed that the district had received the money from the Office of the Prime Minister [OPM] under the micro-projects support.

Kabagonza noted that the money came in when it is remaining only a few days to the new financial year 2023/ 2024, urging the council to revote the funds so that they are used by the beneficiary groups in the same year.

“Given the process involved  to enable the groups access funding and the time left to the end of the financial year, it is my prayer that the district council revotes these funds for implementation in the budget for the next financial year,” he said.

However, Kabagoza’s suggestion sparked a heated argument among  the councillors, with some of the councilors insisting that the money be given out to the beneficiary groups formed about two years ago.

The CAO had earlier explained that most of the groups were not meeting the prerequisites for accessing the money.

“I cannot disburse money to groups which irregularities. Most of their files have no copies of their constitutions, pictures, copies of national identity cards among others. We shouldn’t rush since this can be handled in the next financial year after revoting. The groups never went through the technical planning committee. We need to do due diligence first  before disbursing the money to them,” Sanyu said.

However, a section of councillors blamed the CAO and her team for failing to do the necessary to ensure that the groups have all the requirements in place.

“We are wondering whether the CAO got this information yesterday. These groups were mobilised two years ago. Why didn’t CAO and her team help these groups?” Christopher Acidri, the councillor representing  Nyantozi Sub-county said.

Goodman B Farouk, the councillor representing Nyangahya Sub-county claimed that apart from the irregularities, there are other hidden reasons as to why money is being delayed to be disbursed.

Other councillors suggested that groups which have met all the requirements be given their money before the financial year ends but this was rejected by a section of district councillors and the technocrats.

Still, other councillors, Nicholas Babweteera, representing Bwijanga Sub-county questioned the criteria which was used to select the beneficiaries, asking how groups in Masindi municipality were selected yet the Municipal Council had a different arrangement.

“There were a lot of imbalances. Some sub-counties have no single group,” he argued.

No logical conclusion was reached during the council meeting, leaving the matter hanging in balance.

A total of about 80 groups had been registered to benefit from the programme but only 48 groups were considered to benefit.

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