Top officials from the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, were this morning quizzed by legislators on Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) over funds remitted from missions abroad that disappeared from the Consolidated Fund.
The Finance team led by Secretary to Treasury, Keith Muhakanizi and Accountant General Lawrence Ssemakula, had been summoned to answer audit queries raised in the 2014/15 Auditor General’s report.
In his report to Parliament, the Auditor General John Muwanga, revealed that billions of shillings from foreign missions including Shs276m collected as Non-Tax Revenue from the Mission in Nairobi isn’t reflected in the Consolidated Fund despite the fact that the mission wired money to the Ministry.
Kiira Municipality MP Ssemujju Nganda asked the Ministry to produce all Non Tax Revenue receipts from all Missions starting 2014 to date.
He revealed that the Missions told MPs that although they deposited money with Finance, there was no single document from Finance to show that money was received. They even accused officials from Ministry of Finance of failing to issue acknowledgement receipts when they (officials from foreign missions) come to pick them.
“The Ministry keeps washing their hands clean and keeps blaming the Committee. You can’t tell me none of you looked at the Auditor General report,” Ssemujju Nganda said.
Both Muhakanizi and Ssemakula confessed not having knowledge about where the monies went, claiming they came to the meeting with no idea of what was going to be discussed.
“We agree that we will look at it. Frankly speaking, I had no idea why I was called,” the Treasury boss said.
The responses enlisted furious response from MPs who wondered how the Secretary to Treasury, who is mandated to post accounting officers, has never read a 2014 audit report, to date.
Ssemujju told off the duo: “We shouldn’t be the ones to tell you what to do. It is your duty to look at the Auditor General’s report before you remit the money in the next financial year,” Ssemujju said.
It was also revealed that the officials from the Mission in Khartoum have been bringing money in sacks, collected from Visa fees and rental payments.
This was due to the fact that Sudan is under international sanctions over war crimes, which makes it had to bank the money.
However, despite the circumstances, the officials in Khartoum told MPs during the visit that the money collected during the 2014/15 Financial year was handed over to Ministry of Finance, but the entity never issued a receipt acknowledging receiving the money.
The Accountant General admitted that the Ministry still has challenges receiving money from Missions in Iran, Sudan and Somalia due to sanctions.
Another MP, Mbwatekamwa Gaffa pointed out that the Mission in Kigali also banked the monies collected from visas, but the money isn’t reflected on the Consolidated Account to date.
Additionally, the auditors also revealed that Shs803, 476,992m from the Mission in Beijing was also remitted to Finance, but isn’t reflected in the Consolidated Fund.
With no responses coming by, the MPs threw out the Finance officials and ordered them to return on Friday.