The Ministry Of Defense officials yesterday found hard time to explain why they failed to return Shs1.7bn to the consolidated fund after failing to absorb it in 2017/2018 financial year.
Appearing before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to respond to queries raised in the June 2018 audit report that highlighted that Shs615.4m out of the Shillings 1.4 trillion Defense budget wasn’t spent in the financial year under review, the Chief Accountant at Ministry of Defense, Elton Denis Barigye told MPs that the unspent funds were Shs1.7 billion.
Barigye added that the Shs1.7bn was meant to be paid to 79,000 pensioners who hadn’t been paid, awaiting verification of the claimants.
Asked by PAC Chairperson Nandala Mafabi (in featured photo) on proof showing that indeed the Shs1.7bn had been transferred to the consolidated fund, Barigye shifted goal posts telling the lawmakers that the money bounced back before the closure of the financial year which explains why it couldn’t be reflected in the financial statement for the year under review.
Mafabi also asked whether the Shs1.7bn they claim had bounced had been budgeted for, to which Barigye replied yes and when asked for the proof, he had no documents to back his claims, prompting Edith Buturo, Undersecretary of Finance and Administration to ask the Committee to give the Ministry more time to reconcile their financial statements before appearing again.
Lawmakers also criticized the Ministry on the growing pension arrears amounting to Shs508.63bn, a figure the auditors warned poses significant risks of litigation and related costs to the Ministry, with a total of 79,084 veterans, survivors and ex-gratia yet to receive their funds.