Officials from the Ministry of Defence have Tuesday been grilled over unclear accountability of Shs 823.3 million used in supplying tyres that were meant to be used during the 2016 elections.
The officials led by the Under Secretary, Edith Butuuro were appearing before the Committee of Parliament to respond to the audit queries in the Auditor General’s report of 2015/2016.
In the report, the Auditor General noted that the Ministry paid over Shs 823 million for supply of tyres for operations on May 27 2016. However, a review of available support documentation revealed that a request for supply of tyres was made on January 29 2015 to procure tyres from security budget of Shs 1bn.
One call-off order was issued on January 21 2016 to supply tyres worth USD 214,716 and another on Novembet 18 2014 to supply tyres worth Shs 544.5 million before the requisition was made on November 29.
The auditors observed that on further scrutiny, the support documents revealed that these tyres were not supplied as the Ministry used tax invoices and delivery notes worth Shs 788.2 million from the financial year 2013/2014 as evidence of accountability.
However in response, the officials noted that at the time of undertaking procurement for election security tyres, the Ministry owed the supplier (Arrow Centre Uganda Ltd) Shs 2.2 billion and when the new call off order was issued for supply of tyres, the company refused to honor it demanding for payment of the outstanding debt.
Butuuro said that a decision was therefore taken to pay Shs 823 million as part payment of the old bills dating as far back as FY 2013 using election security tyres allocation to enable the company deliver the tyres.
The response didn’t satisfy the legislators who noted that this was a clear confirmation that the tyres were never supplied since the supplier was paid the arrears in May, three months after the election period.
“How did the supplier give you the tyres when you were not able to pay him by February because the receipts you have furnished the Committee with show that you paid him in May,” noted the Committee chairperson, Angelina Osege.
Butuuro said; “Suppliers would not give us tyres since we had an outstanding debt and by all means we had to first pay off the debt with or without the elections”.
Osege ruled that the Committee moves on to other queries noting that the responses given were not satisfactory.