The Legislators of Parliament Public Accounts Committee have grilled officials from the Ministry of Education and Sports, seeking explanations as to why they gifted Shs2.1b of public funds to private universities.
In his June 30 2016 report to Parliament, Auditor General John Muwanga highlighted that the Ministry transferred Shs2, 192,500,000 to six private universities, in fulfillment of presidential pledges.
The universities include Bishop Stuart University (Shs380m), Kumi University (300m), Kisubi Brothers University College (912.5m), Nkumba University (300m), Mountains of the Moon University (150m)and Ndejje University (150m).
During the audit process, the auditors discovered that the transfers lacked detailed information with regards to status of implementation of pledges.
The auditors also queried discovered that the transfers were made without putting in place mechanisms for accountability from the universities that benefitted from Museveni’s generosity.
During the interface, it was discovered that the ministry issued the money without drawing any agreement with the Universities.
The Ministry acknowledged that there was no MoU drawn but revealed these have since been put in place.
Further, the Ministry officials told the MPs that only Nkumba and Ndejje universities had handed in their accountabilities, with the Director Higher Education justifying the Ministry’s position in respect to the presidential pledges.
“The understanding is that the students from private universities are also Ugandans who come to the job market, who should be properly trained,” Mr Onen said.
But Masaka Municipality MP Mathias Mpuuga warned: “Whoever touches public funds must account. It doesn’t matter if you are a private person.”
Gerald Karuhanga, Ntungamo Municipality MP, wondered how the ministry would commit such huge funds to private universities, yet public universities are grappling with meager funds.
He also questioned why the ministry budget should go into paying presidential pledges, yet Parliament also allocates monies to the Office of the President for the same purpose.
Fred Kakooza, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education replied: “When he (President Museveni) makes pledges that fall under our sector, we budget for it.”