Uganda: Tayebwa seeks clarity on dismissed accounting officers
The Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa has directed the Executive to provide clarification on accounting officers who have been suspended over the last three financial years.
While chairing the House on 12 April 2023, Tayebwa said that the Secretary to the Treasury (PSST) recently disqualified a number of accounting officers yet they have maintained important positions in government.
“Reasons were given for their suspension and we want to know whether their issues were sorted or not. Some were transferred and one of them found their way to my district until we saw him being picked up,” Tayebwa said.
He said it was not prudent to keep such officers in positions of authority after they were stripped of their roles.
“If you are dropped as an accounting officer, we know it is a disciplinary measure and a harsh sentence is given. We should not recycle these people to other agencies,” Tayebwa added.
Hon. Silas Aogon (Indep., Kumi Municipality) said the PSST ought to have attached comments relating to the suspension of the accounting officers.
“It is not good for us to maintain a Chief Administrative Officer who has been an accounting officer but is dropped as the accounting officer. As Parliament, we need a committee that will critically check what right action is taken,” Aogon said.
Chekwii County Member of Parliament, Hon. Moses Aleper (said that names of accounting officers to be dropped always appear as the given financial year is about to end which he said is questionable.
“I bet you these people will get cleared between now and the 30th of June because that is the practice. We need to find out why this matter is raised at the end of the financial year because it should have happened earlier on,” said Aleper.
Lutseshe County MP, Hon. Isaac Modoi said accounting officers do not necessarily control finances and added that the PSST should explain his course of action.
“An accounting officer does not only deal with finance but also with projects and programmes. This issue should not be taken lightly and reasons should be given as to why they are being dropped,” said Modoi.
Nwoya District Woman MP, Hon. Judith Achan expressed further concern on recycling of accounting officers through government agencies yet they have been previously dropped.
“In Nwoya district, PDM money was mismanaged. Without the intervention of the RDC and State House Anti-corruption Unit, we would not have recovered part of this money because the accounting officer had been transferred to another district after the money was mismanaged,” Achan said.
The State Minister for Finance, Hon. Henry Musasizi said the dropping of accounting officers is central in the fight against corruption.
He alluded to Article 164 of the Constitution and Section 11(2)(g) of the Public Finance Management Act which mandates the appointment of accounting officers every financial year.
“The law requires us to look at accountability issues and states that, ‘where the accounting officer has unaccounted for funds as clearly stipulated in the Auditor General's report, he/she should not be reappointed’. Our mandate is only limited to the function of accounting for public funds,” Musasizi said.
The Minister for Public Service, Hon. Wilson Muruuli Mukasa said issues of impropriety are criminal in nature and responsibility ought to be taken by the head of all permanent secretaries.
He cited the Office of the President, the Head of Public Service and the Auditor General who point out the impropriety together with the Police who take apprehensive action.
“For instance, when the pension fund got lost, the Office of the President took action and the officers who were involved in that were committed to court, arraigned and are serving a sentence,” said Muruli Mukasa.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.