AGAGO CAO fails to account for funds – handed over to CIID
The Local Government committee is considering the Auditor General’s report for the FY 2015/16. It is currently in Gulu Municipality to engage with accounting officers from the Acholi sub region districts.
During the meeting in Gulu however, hell broke loose during the cross examination of the Accounting Officer of Agago district, Mr. Mukasa Fred Kizito who seemed to be not only hostile to the committee but also evasive and failed to account for the money queried by the Auditor General.
The Auditor General’s (AG) report indicated that the district awarded contracts to two companies to a tune of UGX. 136M and UGX. 151M for silting, drilling, pump testing, water quality analysis and installation of deep boreholes during the period under review. The contracts start and end dates were 10th March, 2016 and 10th June, 2016 respectively. However, audit inspection carried out on 25th and 26th June, 2016 revealed that no work had been done by the two contractors at the sites. However, it was observed that Council made payments of Ugx 129.5m and Ugx 138m respectively on 30th June, 2016 for no work done.
During the cross examination, the Accounting officer seemed evasive and blatantly dishonest. The committee was compelled to examine him under oath. Mr. Mukasa Fred Kizito told the committee that the boreholes had since been constructed, even submitting letters of appreciation from the council. Upon scrutiny the committee noticed that the documents were forgeries, meant to create an impression that works had been completed.
The committee chairperson, Hon Reagan Okumu upheld the audit query and demanded that the funds in question be refunded. In addition the chairperson referred the case to CIID police for investigations. The panicky accounting officer seemed to lose his head under the heavy bombardment of questions from the committee members. He even tried to retract some of the suspicious evidence, but it was too late.
In addition, it was noted that the district has a staffing capacity of 35%, lacking critical substantive officer like the district engineer and the district education officer. The Acting engineer is not a qualified engineer as admitted by the CAO.
Other queries included unaccounted for funds worth Ugx 116 Million, which the committee demanded should be recovered in the shortest possible time.
The AG’s report also reported low recovery of the Youth Livelihood Project, that out of UGX.159.5M disbursed to the Youth Interest groups in the financial year 2014/15, only Ugx 11M was recovered, representing 7.1% of the total amount disbursed leaving a balance of Ugx 148,304,450. However, the CAO told the committee that 50% of the outstanding funds had since been recovered.
The committee came to the conclusion that the Mr. Fred Kizito was too incompetent to handle the office. After the cross examination by the committee, the Parliament CIID department took over to record statements for further investigations.