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The National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) appearing before the Committee on Commissions Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE)

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The National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) today 20th of May 2019, appeared before COSASE chaired by Busiro East MP Medard Lubega Sseggona. The authority had been asked to, among other things respond to the audit queries for the financial year 2017/18, explain why the process of getting National Identity Cards was slow and tedious.

The Authority was tasked to explain the inappropriate coding of expenditure totalling to UGX 1,559,088,886 that had been charged on wrong account codes without authority. The Committee observed that the principle of proper accountability spelt out in the Transparence and Accountability Initiative (TAIs) had been violated and given an avenue for the diversion of funds from the rightful activities.  Ms. Judy Obitre Gama the Executive Director NIRA, in response acknowledged the mentioned amount of monies, however said that the money was wrongly charged on maintenance and other items, which she said was regrettable.

The committee also raised the concern that millions of Ugandans had been frustrated by the long queues at NIRA registration centres, errors on their identity cards and reports of missing data, among other things. In response Ms. Judy Obitre Gama told the committee that it was unfortunate that NIRA was still using the manual system where the date and all other information  had to be manually collected from the field offices. This in her view had proven to be a challenge. She promised to address the challenge.

The committee was  interested in the concern which had been raised by many Ugandans that some NIRA enrollment officers often ask for a bribe of between 5,000 to 1000,000 shillings for people to be registered.  Judy Gama revealed that the authority had made arrests of some of its officers involved in the alleged bribes and they were awaiting prosecution.

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