The former Secretary to the Judiciary, Kagole Kivumbi (pictured) shocked MPs on Public Accounts Committee (PAC) when he failed to explain how the Chief Justice Bart Katureebe and his Deputy, Owiny Dollo took three different travel trips both within and outside Uganda within the same period.
Kivumbi, accompanied by Judiciary officials appeared before PAC on Wednesday to respond to queries raised in the 2018/2019 auditor general’s report to Parliament.
The Audit report had established that Katureebe and Owiny had all received payments for travels to Australia, South Africa and the duo made trips within Uganda at the same time and that the trips abroad cost taxpayers Shs275m while the inland trips cost Shs68m.
However, when questions were put to him, Kagole at first declined to respond to the queries citing the sub-judice rule, claiming his conduct while at Judiciary is under investigation by Inspector General of Government (IGG) and therefore isn’t willing to comment on some of the queries raised.
Pressed harder by MPs, Kivumbi finally gave into their demands informing the Committee that there was no fraud committed as the listed activities were carried out and respective officers received the money.
“You are saying that money came from Bank of Uganda, I have asked whether you can allow my head of Accounts to confirm whether this is a treasury single account because the attachment you have put here is a print out from the IFMIS. It isn’t that money was withdrawn and I got it, a whistle-blower might have got it wrong that isn’t true,” Kivumbi said.
He added: “It was a typing error and the Auditor General apologized but damage had been done, give me the benefit of doubt. These issues are issues under investigation, did somebody receive the money? It isn’t me who received the money but the activities were done; there are errors in description.”
However, PAC Chairperson, Nandala Mafabi faulted Kivumbi for violating the Public Finance Management Act by paying for the activities in a different financial year and yet they were undertaken in next financial year.
“When you shift money from Bank of Uganda to Stanbic it meant that if you are going to keep it, you are going to keep it until time is due, then start paying for the activities. We are proving to you, you started paying for the activities before they took place. How do you pay for activities two months in advance?” Nandala said.