Barigye together with Mbarara Hospital Accountant, Augustine Omongin and other officials are in the hands of CID officers at parliament explaining why the hospital management irregularly spent the money in the 2017/2018 financial year without approval from the Accountant General.
The Public Accounts
Committee-PAC of parliament has handed over Dr. Celestine Barigye, the Director
Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital to the Criminal Investigations Department
(CID) for questioning in connection to the expenditure of Shillings 733 million
Non-Tax Revenue-NTR at source.
Barigye together with
Mbarara Hospital Accountant, Augustine Omongin and other officials are in the
hands of CID officers at parliament explaining why the hospital management
irregularly spent the money in the 2017/2018 financial year without approval
from the Accountant General.
The officials were appearing before the Public Accounts Committee-PAC Central Government
chaired by the Vice Chairperson Okin P.P Ojara to respond to audit queries
raised in the 2017/2018 financial year report.
According to Section 26 (2) of the Public Finance Management
Act (PFMA) 2015, Accounting Officers are required to transfer all collected
revenue to the Consolidated Fund and where there is need to spend the money at
source, they are required to seek authorization from the Accountant General.
Contrary to this provision, according to Auditor General,
John Muwanga, Mbarara Hospital officials collected Shillings 1.03 billion as
NTR but only remitted Shillings 306 .3 million to the Consolidated Fund and
spent Shillings 733.6 million at source.
He noted that spending
at source could lead to diversion of funds. The PFMA under Section 79
states that a person commits an offence if without lawful authority spends
public funds. It provides a penalty on conviction of a fine not exceeding 500
currency points or a term of imprisonment not exceeding 4 years or both.
Tasked by PAC to explain the irregular spending of revenue at
source without the required approval, Dr. Barigye noted that the hospital had
to ensure that emergencies were responded to at the time especially the Rift
Valley Fever and the Crimean Congo Fever that broke out with many cases
received and treated outside the budget.
He also noted that there
was need to pay contract staff their salaries and incentives for other staff
involved in the generation of the revenue.
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Dr. Barigye’s response sparked off questions from legislators.
The Tororo South MP, Fredrick Angura tasked him to address his response to
provisions under the law. But Barigye
insisted that he couldn’t avoid addressing the emergencies at hand.
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Robert Kasule Sebunya, the Nansana Municipality MP and Sheema
Woman MP, Jacklet Rwabukurukuru Atuhaire questioned whether Mbarara Hospital
wrote to the Accountant General or the Health Ministry Permanent Secretary
regarding the expenditure.
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Joseph Sewungu, the Kalungu West MP pinned the Mbarara
Hospital Director for usurping the powers of the Accountant General warning
that the committee was to recommend that he is not appointed an accounting
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The Mbarara Hospital Accountant, Augustine Omongin confirmed
that the money was spent at source due to financial pressures.
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The PAC Vice Chairperson, Okin P.P Ojara ruled that Dr.
Barigye is handed over to the Parliament CID to make further statement on the matter
and also provide all information regarding the expenditure 733 million
Shillings that was collected in revenue.
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Before being led to the CID office, Dr. Barigye apologized
for the irregular expenditure, saying it will never happen again.