UGANDA: Ministry of Health hid UGX27b donor fund from govt.

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The just-released December 2019 audit report has revealed that the Ministry of Health hid Shs27b it received as donor funding from Government in 2019.

The report by Auditor General John Muwanga highlighted that off-budget financing received by the Ministry of Health to a tune of USD. 6,202,468.79 approximately Shs22,801,849,818.38 and Shs4,678,591,035 totaling to Shs27.480Bn was not paid into the Consolidated Fund contrary to the PFMA, 2015.

Diana Atwine, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Finance will have to explain to Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee why she paid Shs2.742Bn to ghost pensioners after auditors revealed that the funds were paid out as pension without the Responsible Officers verifying the salary, gratuity and pension payment files sent to the IPPS/IFMS.

The report stated that pensioners aged 75 years and above were being paid pension without the availability of life certificates on their files; and gratuity payments worth Shs495.906M were uploaded to the IFMS without having been processed through the IPPS, presenting a risk of making duplicate payments.

The audit team also discovered that there were unsupported adjustments relating to domestic arrears Shs1.655Bn overdraft Shs1.037Bn and bounced EFTs Shs313.653M) which as a whole have a material effect on the presentation of the financial statements.

The Ministry was also faulted for mischarging and diverting funds amounting to Shs3.089Bn.

Additionally, the report noted that the Ministry suffered funding shortfall in releases amounting to Shs12.204b of the budget, but amidst the shortfall, the Ministry of Health had unspent balance of Shs3.257M out of Shs150.334Bn released, prompting the Ministry to take back the money to the consolidated fund.

The Ministry of Health was also accused of refusing to budget for Non-Tax Revenue although the institution went ahead and collected Shs134,218,800 with the audit team stating that the failure to budget for revenue misleads the users of the financial statements.

Ministry of Health was also faulted for not budget adequately budgeting for domestic arrears with the report highlighting that of the institution’s domestic arrears amounting to Shs46.522Bn, only Shs197,440,913 was budgeted for settlement of domestic arrears.

Yet still, Auditor General stated that the Ministry is grappling with contingent liabilities amounting to Shs46.206Bn due to two on-going court cases.

In the Human Resource department of the Ministry of Health, the institution has an approved organisation structure comprising of 853 staff out of which 481 posts have been filled, leaving a balance of 372 posts vacant.

However, even among the current staff, the auditors also unearthed serious shortcomings in the area of staff performance management, including delays to complete and submit to MoPS Performance Agreements, Plans, Appraisals, Improvement Plans and reports on discipline; absence of a rewards and sanctions committee; and delayed conclusion of disciplinary cases.

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