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Parliament Probes Central Bank's Golden Jubilee Pens

Bugweri County MP Abdul Katuntu says that the his committee has picked interest in the matter. He added that the committee is going to review the golden jubilee celebrations in totality concentrating on the procurement contracts and documents.
Bank of Uganda (BOU) Deputy Governor Louis Kasekende listening to COSASE chairman Abdu Katuntu together with the Vice Chairperson Anita Among.

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Bank of Uganda has been asked to produce all procurement files relating to purchases made for its golden jubilee celebrations.

The demand was made by Parliaments Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) in a meeting with Central Bank officials led by the Deputy Governor Louis Kasekende. The team was responding to queries raised by the Auditor General in the 2013/2014 audit report.

Away from the year under review, COSASE chairman Abdu Katuntu made reference to media reports indicating that the bank flouted procurement laws when it spent 125 million Shillings to purchase 350 pens in financial year 2016/2017.  The pens were supplied by Aristoc Booklex Limited.

The purchase was reportedly initiated by the Central Bank's Communications Department for distribution to distinguished guests during the Golden Jubilee Joseph Mubiru Memorial Lecture held on August 2 and a subsequent activity on august 3, 2016.

Documents accessed by URN indicate that Gloria Wakooba, the BOU Acting Director (Procurement Disposal Department) raised queries on the procurement and cautioned the institution's Secretary Contracts Committee that the branded pens had been ordered for before the procurement process was initiated, contrary to the provisions of the law.

"The tender documentation approved was overtaken by events given that the goods had already been received in the bank and the supplier has submitted an invoice for payment." Wakooba stated in a letter dated September 23 2016.

Wakooba then requested the Contracts Committee to cancel the tender documentation regarding the procurement and that the relevant approval authority approves 125 million Shillings to M/s Aristoc Booklex Ltd, given that the Bank had already consumed the goods and needed to pay for them.

Katuntu says that the committee has picked interest in the matter. He added that the committee is going to review the golden jubilee celebrations in totality concentrating on the procurement contracts and documents.

"If there is a problem we have to sort it out, if there is no problem we will be happy to say there was no problem. So can we have the details of that function, the procurement and so on because the issue raised by the media is bad procurement," Katuntu said.

He added that COSASE shall eventually be looking at several other procurement's saying that all statutory institutions have the problem of procurement.

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Efforts by the Deputy Governor Kasekende to notify Katuntu that BOU at 50 celebrations relate to the financial year 2016/2017 which is not yet covered by the Auditor General were futile.  Katuntu cut him short saying that it was even more relevant for his committee to look at the matter since most times all they do is postmortem.

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Kasilo County MP Elijah Okupa further demanded that the Central Bank avails the committee with a sample of the pen that the Central Bank procured.

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Bank of Uganda Director Communications Christine Alupo defended the procurement that it went through all due processes and that the institutions internal audit department was handling the matter.