The matter arose while MPs on the committee chaired by Budadiri West MP Nathan Nandala Mafabi were questioning an accrued cost of Shillings 18bn which was above the ministry’s approved annual budget of Shillings 138.2bn for the year in review.
The Solicitor General Francis Atoke has denied responsibility for accumulation
of court awards worth 43 billion shillings.
Atoke was responding to a query from Members of Parliament on the Public
Accounts Committee (PAC) - Central Government on why the ministry incurred
liabilities during the 2018/2019 financial year.
Atoke led a team of officials from the ministry on Wednesday to respond to several
issues raised in the Auditor General’s report for the financial year ending June
The matter arose when MPs on the committee chaired by Budadiri
West MP Nathan Nandala Mafabi questioned an accrued cost of Shillings
18bn which was above the ministry’s approved annual budget of Shillings 138.2bn
for the year in review.
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Atoke noted that he had no control over the funds since they were
court awards and compensations accrued from court cases lost by the government.
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The ministry’s Principal Accountant James Oundo told MPs that out
of the total liability of Shillings 43.9 billion, the ministry had only received
a budget of Shillings 25.9 billion during the financial year to clear
outstanding commitments hence a balance of Shillings 18 billion in liabilities.
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In his report, the Auditor General John Muwanga noted that in
court cases ruled against the government the court awarded interest of 6
percent to 25 percent and sometimes even 40 percent.
He further observed that as a result of the government’s failure to pay these
court awards on time, these have accumulated interest. He added that in some
cases it has exceeded the principle award. He noted that interest totalling to
Shillings 183.7 billion has accumulated over the years.
By the end of June 2019, the total stock of domestic arrears
stood at Shillings 557.3 billion down from Shillings 663.9 billion the previous
Atoke lamented that the ministry carries an unnecessary burden of
paying awards and compensations for wrongs committed by other government
departments but he revealed that all damages from cases after June 2016 are
being paid for by the offending ministries and departments.
Mafabi demanded a complete breakdown of the 43.9 billion in
domestic arrears by Friday.