OCTOBER 28, 2010: PM's Office Bosses Grilled Over Sh18 Billion for IDPs

PM's Office Bosses Grilled Over Sh18 Billion for IDPs

SOURCE: New Vision

By Mary Karugaba

OFFICIALS from the Office of the Prime Minister have been queried over the accountability for sh18.6b for internally displaced people (IDPs).

The money was allocated to the ministry in 2007 to purchase farm equipment and inputs for 632,880 households in 10 districts of northern and north- eastern Uganda.

The districts were Gulu, Lira, Kitgum Pader, Adjumani, Amuria, Apac, Soroti, Kaberamaido, and Katakwi. The money was also to purchase ox-ploughs.

In a report to Parliament for the year 2008, the Auditor General said inspection of Gulu district stores showed that 40,835kg of seeds worth sh97.6m were not distributed because they were of poor quality.

The report also added that out of the 904 hoes found in the stores, 189 pieces were not of the recommended type.

The officials, led by the permanent secretary Pius Bigirimana, were on Tuesday meeting MPs on the public accounts committee.

When Bigirimana was asked how the money was spent, he bounced the ball to the technical officials who were in charge of the project at the time.

The committee agreed to summon the then permanent secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Martin Odwedo, the head of procurement, members of the evaluation and contracts committee and the project manager.

The auditors also said sh1.7b meant to purchase ox-ploughs was diverted.

Dorcas Okalany, the ministry's former undersecretary, said the change from ox-ploughs to hoes was done with the approval of Prime Minister Apolo Nsibambi.

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