PAC Witness Arrested For Refusing To Take Oath

Rev. Dr. Florence Muranga, the Executive Director of the Presidential Initiative on Banana Industrial Development (PIBID) Project has been arrested and detained for refusing to take oath during an appearance to the Public accounts committee of Parliament.

Rev Muranga Florence (Middle) with her aide being led by Parliament's Police Office in crime Jacket to the Parliament Cell
Rev Muranga Florence (Middle) with her aide being led by Parliament’s Police Office in crime Jacket to the Parliament Cell

Muranga was appearing before the committee together with Ministry of Finance Officials to respond to audit queries raised in the Auditor General’s reports  for the financial years 2010/2011 and 2011/2012.

Muranga was adamant to answer to a query raised on irregular payments of allowances to staff and wasteful expenditures exceeding UGX 700million during the two financial years.

Basing on the reluctance exhibited by the witness, Committee Chairperson Kassiano Wadri observed that they would not proceed without getting appropriate answers. This required that the witness is subjected to an oath

However, Dr. Muranga stated that she would rather lose a job than swear by the Bible since the God she serves is more important than the Job.  She adds that she had been advised that using the bible to take oath is inappropriate.

PAC Chairperson Kassiano Wadri told Rev. Muranga that what she was committing a crime and directed the Police to arrest her for contempt of the committee.

The Auditor General queried irregular payments of allowances to staff of the Presidential Initiative on Banana Industrial Development (PIBID) project which Rev Muranga Heads in terms of Honoraria worth UGX 92.4million.

The report noted that Honoraria is payable only on satisfactory completion of the assignment within the specified time frame and that in December 2007, the Project management authorized payment of  UGX 92.4m to staff as end of year honoraria calculated at 20% of their annual gross pay.

However, according to the Auditor General management erred in the award of payment since staff had not fulfilled the conditions before the payment was made.

But according to management, the funds used to pay honoraria were meant to pay staff salaries for established positions which were not filled. Audit however noted that the funds were erroneously treated as savings and irregularly appropriated to staff.

The Auditor General also queried wasteful expenditure worth UGX 168.6 million spent on a contract to redesign the irrigation water supply system at Nyaruzinga, Bushenyi in October 2009
The auditor general observed that the cost of redesign unnecessarily doubled the cost of the job and amounted to wasteful expenditure.

MP Eddie Kwizera, the Lead Counsel of PAC noted that the committee wanted Rev. Muranga to explain why she authorized payment of Christmas bonuses amounting to of over UGX 400million and the Misuse of UGX 168million.

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