The public Accounts committee of parliament has grilled the officials led by the undersecretary in the Ministry of Defence, Edith Buturo, over 718 billion shillings arrears that remained unpaid at the close of the financial year 2015/17.
The funds were meant to clear delayed payment of over 8,000 retired army officers their gratuity and pension, land compensation and sundry creditors.
The committee chaired by Ntungamo municipality MP, Gerald Karuhanga, was interacting while reviewing the Auditor General report of the financial year 2015/16 noted that the Ministry of Defence requires 536 billion shillings to clear the gratuity and pension arrears of the retired army officers but such funds is never approved by the ministry of finance.
The member of parliament for Kasambya County, Gaffa Mbwatekamwa asked which criteria used for the retired army officers to access their gratuity since some officers who retired recently quickly received their money and some who left the military service 10 years ago are still unpaid.
The committee members queried why the ministry continues to retire the army officers when the un cleared bill for officers retire before is not cleared.
The committee noted that suppliers of different items to the army want 103 billion shillings and also the ministry of defanse needs 78 billion shillings for compensation of land acquired by the ministry.
Responding to the issues raised by the committee members the undersecretary in the Ministry of Defence, Edith Buturo said that they continue to retire the army officers because it’s a demand.
She explained that the required payment for the retired army officers is currently under audit by the ministry of finance and after verification they will be paid.
She revealed that a team of 9 auditors has been assigned to audit the army army officers gratuity and pension by the ministry of finance and she expects to all the arrears of retired army officers within the next two years.
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