Justice Ministry Fails to Explain Budget Excesses

The Ministry of Justice and constitutional affairs is tasked to disclose the source of an extra Ugx 88billion spent above its allocated budget last financial year.

R_L Bafaki, Etuke and commissioner Biringye in parliament PAC Yesterday
R_L Bafaki, Etuke and commissioner Biringye in parliament PAC Yesterday

The team led by the Solicitor General Francis Etuke had appeared before parliaments Public Accounts committee (PAC) to respond to queries raised by the auditor general indicating that the Justice ministry appropriated funds way above its allocation of Ugx 36bn.

Committee Chair Alice Alaso stated that the Justice Ministry posted the extra Ugx 88bn as miscellaneous expenditure in its financial Performance report for the year ended 30th June 2013. However, the expense was not backed by any proof.

The committee queried the source of the money since the department had not asked for a supplementary budget to finance its activities.

“The money spent is far above, you have spent more Ugx 88bn than what we appropriated for your ministry,” Budadiri West MP Nandala Mafabi queried.

Committee members also rejected an explanation by the solicitor general Francis Etuke that the money was part of arrears and miscellaneous expenditure.

They also threw out the explanation by Justice Undersecretary Ernest Bafaki that the Ugx 88bn were liabilities incurred.

Etuke later acknowledged the embarrassment caused by the inconsistencies in the budget performance report and sought the committee’s indulgence for more time to appreciate the figures and iron out the inconsistencies.

“I am embarrassed by the report we have tabled, Madam Chairperson I beg that we go back and give us tomorrow, the budget performance will be submitted afresh,” Etuke said.

The MPs also expressed concern on the deliberate poor record keeping in the ministry as well as the failure to computerize the business at the ministry which is cited as a ploy by officials to defraud the tax payer.

The undersecretary Ernest Bafaki however assured parliament that no money had been lost so far but efforts were being put in place to ensure that the ministry operations are computerized.

The ministry has one day within which to provide a fresh budget performance report.

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