Meeting with Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC)
Discussed in the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Entreprises on December 4th, 2014
Hon Namayanja chaired the meeting; where UBC appeared before the committee to answer the queries that arose in the Auditor General’s report of 2013. Leading the procession from UBC was Mr. Patrick Kateeba, the finance manager, the head of engineering and the legal officer for the Corporation. The meeting was a continuation of a series of meetings that the committee is having in relation to accountability.
While the Manager finance appeared before the committee its important to note that he was only been an employee of UBC for the last four months and his predecessors did not provide a hand over report to him and his colleagues. The context of his responses were in the “now”. The back log that the committee intended to clear was hindered by that factor. The chairperson adjourned the meeting for close to thirty minutes to allow management of UBC to get the information they required for the committee to carry out its business. In light of this the committee proposed that the former accounting officer be summoned to answer for the years he was responsible.
Some of the queries that arose in that financial year included;
UBC hadn’t carried out an evaluation exercise for its assets during the year in question. It was also discovered that the Corporation did not have a fixed assets register for the properties it owned. Management asserted that the process was underway.
Noted in the report was also the fact that UBC leased land to third parties but was recorded as fixed assets in the balance sheet instead of receivables. In addition the corporation has trade and other payables worth UGX 11.3 billion. The auditors wondered on what basis the finance Department used to record this money because there were no invoices and neither was there a certificate of completion. The committee heard that at the time the contract was used to record the money.
The Auditors also reported that UBC did not have a debt policy and neither did they have a bad debt management policy which was a risky state for the corporation to be run in.
On the issue of money, it was noted that there were disparities in reported balances and the actual balances in the cash books of the corporation. Management expressed their regret that such an anomaly could occur but blamed the finance manager at the time who was not available to the committee because she absconded. In addition it was reported that UBC operated a dollar accounts but did not reveal the rates of conversion which raised suspicion of the Auditors.
The auditors also reported that UBC did not have a board to provide oversight to the corporation.
The audit also reported that UBC had to refund an amount of UGX 11 billion to Haba Group but had not included in their financial records. Management told the committee they hadn’t because they had a 95% chance of winning the case which is still undergoing litigation and per accounting it was not feasible to. In the event that the case is lost, the money will be refunded and also included in accounting books.
Important to note is that UBC had outstanding statutory obligations; PAYE worth UGX 662 million and NSSF worth 11 billion inclusive of the principle, interest and penalties. Management apologized and told the committee they were trying to rectify this anomaly. They said they are paying UGX 50 million over and above their required remittances to reconcile the balances.
Also noted was that UBC procured Intel sat to provide satellite services at a very high price and yet there were others for way lower. Management explained that in 1990 when UBC was procuring Intel sat, it was the only one with footprint in Africa.
The chairperson urged management to go through all the audit queries in order to provide all the relevant documented evidence for the committee. The meeting was adjourned to a later date.