Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has directed the Auditor General to carry out a forensic audit on Namboole National Stadium.
The directive by PAC Chairperson Nathan Nandala Mafabi followed a submission of a document by the Finance Ministry indicating that Mandela National Stadium has domestic arrears of 875.3 million Shillings out of the accumulated arrears of the Ministry of 200.7 billion as at 30th June 2018.
Officials from Finance Ministry led by the Under Secretary Betty Kasimbazi had appeared before PAC to answer audit queries raised in Auditor General’s report for June 2018.
During the meeting, Kalungu West MP Joseph Ssewungu alleged that there were plans to privatize the Stadium, He tasked the Finance officials to inform the committee about the ownership and management of the Stadium and where 875.3 million shillings arose from.
Moses Mwase, the Director Privatization Unit in the Finance Ministry said that Namboole Stadium is owned by a government company Mandela National Stadium Limited with two shareholders including the Minister of Education and Sports who owns 99% shares and the Minister of Finance with 1% Shares.
Asked by Nandala where the company’s dividends go, Mwase said that the company has not declared dividends because it has had capitalization issues and has not been making profits.
He said that consultations to bring a private developer on board have kicked off and that this would require funds to be availed by government for the Privatization Unit to carry out an analysis.
Mwase said that they are looking at partnering with the Private Sector and not necessarily privatization since there are no plans to sell the Stadium.
Mwase’s revelation that the Privatization unit was looking for a development partner for the Stadium did not go well with the MPs. Lwemiyaga County MP Theodore Ssekikubo questioned whether Finance Ministry had given up on the only National Stadium.
MP Ssewungu questioned plans to have a development partner and information being given by Finance Ministry saying that the Education Ministry had earlier denied any involvement in the Stadium. He cited a need for more inquiries to be made about the Stadium.
He was supported by Mafabi who questioned why funds collected from different events at the Stadium are not used to maintain the facility.
Nansana Municipality MP Robert Kasule Ssebunya suggested that the committee summons members of the Stadium board so that they explain the financial standing of the Stadium. This was after Finance Officials said that the Stadium was being managed by a board formed by the Education Ministry chaired by Aldrine Nsubuga. Nandala further noted that parliament cannot make a decision to capitalize the Stadium without knowing its status.
But Mwase said that it was not true that profits from the Stadium were being pocketed insisting that the Stadium needs urgent capitalization since it is not making any profits. He said that the Stadium board is exclusively appointed by the Education Ministry with the Finance Ministry represented by a one Rosette Kebba on the board.
Asked to name the other board members for Namboole Stadium, Under Secretary Betty Kasimbazi said that her role in the Stadium is limited with Mwase requesting for more time for the Ministry to avail details about the National Stadium.
Nandala directed that the Memorandum and Articles of Association among other documents about the Stadium be sent to the committee with an explanation of what the 875 million arrears are for.