The Secretary to Treasury, Keith Muhakanizi, recently faced rough time from Members of Parliament on the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) over the government entities that divert funds from the budgeted items to unbudgeted ones without Parliament’s approval.
This came up as MPs sitting on (PAC) noted that in the financial year 2014/15, at total of 73 billion shillings was spent to unbudgeted items by accounting officers of government entities without seeking Parliament’s approval contrary to the accounting regulations.
The MPs who were meeting with the officials from the Ministry of Finance over the Auditor General’s report for the financial year 2014/15 grilled Keith Muhakanizi and the Accountant General, Lawrence Semakula, questioning why they allow the re-appointment of accounting officers who authorize diversion of budgeted funds to items which were not consider budgeted for.
The MPs who included; the Chairperson of this Committee Angelina Ossege, MP for Rubanda East county, Henry Musasizi, Kalungu West MP, Joseph Gonzaga Sewungu and Masaka Municipality MP, Mathius Mpuuga and Buliisa County MP Stephen Mukitale at some point made Muhakanizi to sweat before the committee calling him to retire over the continued change of accounting officers from one government agencies to others despite of having abused public funds in their previous offices.
Muhakanizi however, later apologized for the re-appointment of such accounting officers but added that; “It’s not easy to retire yourself when you have not been chased”.
The Woman MP for Soroti district, Angelina Ossege, told the officials in the ministry of finance that is not right to allow the budget run on mischarge and faulted Muhakanizi for not punishing the accounting officers who allow mischarge.
Muhakanizi defended himself after serious questioning that they sacked some accounting officers over abuse of public funds and he tabled before the committee seven names of the sacked officers in 2016 and promised to sack more the same irregularities.
Some of the accounting officers he tabled before the committee who were not reappointed include the former Director in charge of Energy in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, Eng.Paul Mubiru, the former secretary to the Equal opportunities commission, Amal Catherine, former Wakiso CAO, David Kigenyi Naluwayiro, former Zombo district CAO, Peter Okello, former CAO Nakapiripit district and the former CAO Alebtong district, Richard Rich Alioko.