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BILLIONS LOST: Gov’t Properties Being Sold To Pay Off Debts

Government of  Uganda’s properties are increasingly being sold to pay off, the December 2019 audit report compiled by the Office of the Auditor General has revealed.

Handing over the report to Speaker Rebecca Kadaga yesterday at Parliament, Auditor General, John Muwanga (pictured) highlighted that in the FY 2018/2019, a total of Shs66.55bn and USD528,000 on 17 bank accounts was attached by way of Garnishee orders against Government.

A garnishee order is a common form of enforcing a judgment debt against a creditor to recover money.

“I observed that judgment debtors are increasingly resorting to the use of garnishee orders against government accounts as a means of enforcement. This was partly due to absence of a clear and proper procedure and policy for the effective settlement of court decisions and orders entered against the Government,” Muwanga said.

He warned that absence of the policy has an impact on service delivery because the attachments mean that planned Government programmes are not implemented.

“Government should devise a strategy of managing the payment of debts arising out of court awards as a means of limiting recourse to garnishee of Government accounts,” he said.

While reacting to the audit findings, Speaker Kadaga said garnishee orders are prearranged so people can get money quickly.

She called on the Executive to come up with a policy that will protect Government property from being sold to pay off debts, saying the public is losing property through court awards.

 “This has been happening and this is an area for hemorrhage for Government. I have been proposing for some time that Government property actually shouldn’t be subject to a petition but no one is listening, I have talked about it for about five years. So you get a new car within a few weeks it is gone and the public is suffering,” Kadaga said.

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