Muwanga, in his report to Parliament, cited Lira Regional Referral Hospital where 5.97 billion Shillings was spent on salaries, pension, and gratuity out of the total receipts of 7.48 billion shillings resulting in an unabsorbed balance of 1.5 billion shillings.
Public Accounts Committee (PAC) - Central Government is investigating the
excess funds that were released by the Ministry of Finance to regional referral
hospitals for gratuity in the last financial year.
The matter stems from the June 2021 audit report in which Auditor General John
Muwanga queried low absorption of funds meant for payment of salaries, pension,
and gratuity in the financial year 2020/2021.
Muwanga, in his report to Parliament, cited Lira Regional Referral Hospital
where 5.97 billion Shillings was spent on salaries, pension, and gratuity out of
the total receipts of 7.48 billion shillings resulting in an unabsorbed balance
of 1.5 billion shillings.
According to Lira Regional Referral Hospital documents sent to PAC on
Wednesday, the Director Dr. J.S.O Obbo says that unspent gratuity was a result
of excessive allocation over and above the entity's needs and that the Ministry
of Finance was informed of the correct hospital gratuity and pension in a
letter sent to the Secretary to Treasury.
The letter dated 24th March 2020 indicates that the entity required a total of
801.5 million shillings for 108 pensioners (663.3 million) and 3 gratuity
beneficiaries (138.2 million). The actual releases to the hospital indicate
that a total of 638.9 million shillings were sent by Finance Ministry for
Dr. Obbo said that all the excess money that could not be spent was returned to
the Consolidated Fund.
Bob Okae, the Kwania North MP questioned whether the hospital management
notified the Ministry of Finance about the excess funds sent to them in regard
to gratuity, but Dr. Obbo had no evidence to this effect apart from the letter indicating
what the hospital required.
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Asuman Basalirwa, the Vice-Chairperson PAC noted that the committee was
taking a keen interest in the issue, saying that they had observed a pattern with
regional referral hospitals being sent money over and above their need by the
Ministry of Finance.
“I think there is a pattern…we saw it with Mubende Regional Referral Hospital
and we are seeing it with Lira. I am beginning to suspect that the Ministry of
Finance is conniving with some of these hospitals to steal money. Otherwise, up
to now…I don’t see any justification for the Ministry sending releases over and
above what was asked by a hospital,” said Basalirwa.
directed that the Lira Hospital Director avail the committee of a list of those
that were paid gratuity by Friday this week. He also directed that the hospital
management avails evidence of sending back money to the Consolidated Fund.
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Xavier Kyooma, the Ibanda South MP also wondered why the Hospital management
held on to money on its account that they did not need yet other hospitals
required it for expenditure.
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On Tuesday, PAC also observed that while Mubende Regional Referral Hospital
requested 408.2 million Shillings for gratuity, the Ministry of Finance released
1.2 billion to the health facility.
Andema, the Hospital Director said that they could not spend 700 Million
Shillings sent by the Ministry since it was in excess of what they had requested.
The committee learned that the hospital management did not also make an official
report to the Ministry of Finance regarding the excess funds.
Sarah Opendi, the Tororo Woman MP questioned the motive behind releasing more
money to entities that have not requested it.
PAC plans to summon officials from the Ministry of Finance to explain the