State House wants Shs23bn as Museveni probes UPDF Shs76bn fraud

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While the country is yet to come to terms with the reported siphoning of Shs76bn by top army officials, the top office in the land [State House], is also seeking an additional Shs23bn to spend.

In a letter to the Finance ministry quoted by Daily Monitor, State House asked for Shs23bn in supplementary funding.

This was followed by another letter by Privatisation minister, Evelyn Anite, to the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, asking the legislative arm of government to sanction the request to settle emergency issues.

“In addition, two supplementary requests have been received…vote 002 State House, Shs23 billion to cater for a shortfall on utilities, insurance, classified expenditure, travels within the country and abroad…,” the letter quoted by Monitor reads in parts.

In the Financial Year 2016/2017, State House under Vote 002 was allocated Shs257.29bn yet Anite further wrote to the Secretary to Treasury, Keith Muhakanizi, in March this year asking for Shs212bn in supplementary funding for 2016/17 Financial Year.

According to the letter, Shs11.3bn is needed to finance travel in-land, Shs5 billion in classified expenditure, Shs4.1bn is for travel abroad, Shs614 million for telecommunications, Shs219 million for electricity and Shs365 million for water.

State House had earlier on taken Shs2.9bn and later spent Shs200 million in donation to Isingiro Fruit factory bringing the total of supplementary budget to Shs238bn.

In defence of the exorbitant budget, State House Comptroller, Lucy Nakyobe, told Monitor the money is needed to “to fund unforeseen expenditure in the budget.’

“During the year, we planned as usual, but there are many other things which came up like the Makerere University Visitation Committee which we are supposed to fund, and we had more travels abroad. We had many more activities requiring international relations,” she is quoted by the newspaper as saying.

Museveni probes Shs76bn army scandal

Meanwhile, President Yoweri Museveni has ordered for an investigation into allegations that the Ministry of Defence mismanaged a Shs76 billion project at the army’s training school Kaweweta.

Documents cited by Monitor indicate that businessman Eria Mubiru and his companies J2E Investment Corporation Limited, Roester Construction Corporation and some Defence officials stole billions from the army by inflating contracts.

The documents also cite Mubiru’s fake profiles of employees to win contracts, concocted books of accounts, tax evasion and failure to execute works paid for.

The report about the Infrastructure Development project at Kaweweta Recruit Training School released on October 22, 2015 shows that Phase One of the project was awarded to J2E Investment Corporation at Shs2.2b under the Bid Acceptance on March 11, 2010.

In 2012, Mubiru’s company supplied furniture worth Shs700m without a valid contract or purchase order.

The J2E was also awarded Phase Two of Kaweweta project at Sh26.3 billion and received advance payment of 88 per cent of the contract sum, but the works stalled with no cause for delay by the contractor.

The same company, under a separate bid, was awarded another contract worth Shs6.4 billion for emergency water works at Kaweweta which never happened.

The same company was contracted again for Shs3.6b to build a parade ground at Kaweweta and received Shs2.6b in advance.

On February 4, 2015, the UPDF Engineering Brigade wrote to the Defence ministry’s Permanent Secretary through the Joint Chief of Staff, showing the costs for critical works in Phase 3, estimated at Shs21.9 billion.

On July 3, 2015, the Ministry of Defence used restricted domestic bidding and issued bidding documents to four contractors. They were approved by the Contracts Committee on June 30, 2015, but out of the four, J2E Investment Corporation was rated the best and lower bidder at Shs28.6 billion.

The investigations later found that the bid was Shs6.7 billion above the reserve price set by the Engineering Brigade.

His report further states that instead, on August 19, 2015, the Contracts Committee rejected the Engineering Brigade’s revised bill of quantities, saying there was no justification for increasing the cost from Shs21.9 billion to 29.7b. But surprisingly, on October 2, 2015 the same committee approved J2E to be awarded the contract at Shs28.6b.

The same contractor under a different name Roestar Construction Corporation, was on March 22, 2014 awarded another contract worth Shs5.9b for priority works in Olilim SOFAAD Training School.

A probe team comprised Brig Sam Kavuma, Brig. Ramathan Kyamulesire, Col. Abdul Rugumayo, Lt. Col. L. Arikosi, Lt. Arthur Ruhinda and Okello Engola has ordered recovery of the Shs700m paid to Mubiru for furniture supplied to Kaweweta without a contract and prosecution of the officers behind the deal.

Source: Monitor

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