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Minister Musenero Bought 4 Instead Of 8 Lab Rats At Shs46.6M-Auditor General

The Auditor General John Muwanga has revealed that despite the Minister of Science and Technology, Monica Musenero (pictured) promising to procure 8 lab rats to conduct research for the manufacture of Covid-19 vaccines, only four mice were purchased at almost the same price.

Muwanga made the revelation in his Forensic investigation report into the COVID-19 funds released to Ministries, Departments and Agencies between 2019 to 2021, that he presented before Parliament, where he queried the number of mice procured that wasn’t concurrent with the initial details in the procurement.

“Out of the 8 humanised mice that had been budgeted to cost Shs48M and valued at Shs6M each, only four were delivered at a total cost of Shs46.6M. I further noted that ordinary mice worth Shs10m were not purchased for the R&D 11 project,” Muwanga said.

The report also revealed that the Lab Animal House under Makerere University, and PCR and anti-body diagnostic kits projects which had a total approved proposal budget of Shs2.92Bn had received a total of Shs3.83Bn without sufficient justification which had resulted into a total over payment of Shs904Mn.

Details from the Audit report indicate that the Ministry of Science and Technology received funds for Covid in two batches with the first Shs5.3Bn paid in 2019/2020 and Shs31Bn in 2020/2021.

The auditors also queried the fuel expenditure by the Ministry of Science and Technology, after pointing out that Shs19.66Bn was paid to MS Vivo Energy (U) Ltd for consumption of fuel on various activities during the period under review. However, M/S Vivo Energy provided consumption statements totaling to Shs21.45Bn for the same period which had not been reconciled by the Ministry.

The Forensic Audit also faulted the Ministry of Science and Technology for spending Shs5.25Bn and Shs15B.88Bn for the procurement of research equipment from suppliers who hadn’t been prequalified, arguing that the purchase didn’t cater for a research in market price as stipulated in the procurement regulations.

The Ministry of Science and Technology was also faulted for engaging in the research for the manufacture of the COVID-19 vaccine without putting in place a framework for intellectual property rights commercialization of public funded innovations, research and development.

It should be recalled that the Office of the Auditor general was asked in September 2021 to conduct a forensic audit into the expenditure of the Covid funds as part of the resolutions made by parliament after an initial probe into the expenditure of Covid-19 funds.

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