Health Service Commission Under Fire Over UGX 100M Contract

The Health Service Commission has come under fire from the Public Accounts Committee for entering into a contract worth 100 million shillings with New Vision without approval from the solicitor general.

Health Service Commission Officials before PAC
Health Service Commission Officials before PAC

The matter came up when senior officials of the Health Service Commission led by the accounting officer Charles Twinomugisha, appeared before the committee on Tuesday to respond to audit queries for the financial year ending 30th June 2011.

In the report, the auditor general notes that the Health Service Commission entered a contract with The New Vision worth 100 million shillings to advertise vacant posts without authorization from the solicitor general.

The PPDA Act 2003 requires government agencies to seek approval of the Solicitor General for any contracts that exceed 50m shillings.

The auditor general also noted that there was not competitive bidding and no value for money. The Health Service Commission paid shillings 6.3 million for each of the 14 page advert.

The MPs questioned how the commission determined that 100 million shillings was value for money without getting quotations from other publishers.

Ignatius Besisira, the Buyaga county MP tasked the officials to explain why they didn’t get quotations from other publisher since they had failed to convince the committee that there was value for money.

Charles Twinomugisha, the accounting officer of the Health Service Commission acknowledged the fact that they didn’t seek approval from the solicitor general and apologized for the omission.

He however, attributed the omission to the limited time the commission was given to fill up the vacant posts before the expiry of the term of the commission members.

Maxwell Akora, the lead counsel of PAC wondered what could have stopped the Health Service Commission from obtaining two quotations from different news papers and then an evaluation is made in order to establish for value for money.

Kassiano Wadri, the Chairperson of PAC warned Twinomugisha about the comments he was making before the committee given the fact that he has been in service for over 30 years and is fully aware of the laid down procedures.

Xavier Kyooma, the Ibanda North MP asked Twinomugisha if he would fault PAC for recommending that he refunds the 100m shillings, which he spent without approval of from the Solicitor General.

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