By Francis Lubega
Members of Parliament sitting on the Budget committee have queried the extravagant expenditure by state House on the visitation committee that was setup by President Yoweri Museveni to investigate the mismanagement in Makerere University.
This arose after the Office of the President led by Minister for Presidency Esther Mbayo presented a supplementary budget of 2.4 billion shillings to facilitate the committee which the Dokolo woman representative Cecilia Ogwal termed as unconstitutional for that office to facilitate a committee which falls under the ministry of Education.
The nine member committee was appointed on November 14th 2016 by President Yoweri Museveni at the height of failed negotiations and demonstrations that led to the closure of Makerere University.
It was tasked to study and make a situation analysis of Makerere University and causes of endemic strikes, study three earlier reports from similar investigations at Makerere and conduct a Special Audit in the Financial Management Practices of the University. It was also expected to undertake an audit in the population of Students, Teaching and Non-Teaching staff presently studying or working at Makerere University in order to rule out ghosts.
State House Comptroller Lucy Nakyobe says that the committee, which is yet to present its investigation report, has spent 2.434 billion Shillings in allowances and travel abroad. This includes an expenditure of 1.811 billion Shillings on allowances and 623 million Shillings on travel.
According to Nakyobe, the nine core members of the committee visited different countries around the world to bench mark as part of their investigations. Some of the countries visited are Malaysia, United States of America (USA), South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.
But Ogwal demanded more answers on why the visitation committee funding should be an emergency for the country. Ogwal attacked State House officials for continuously using supplementary budgets to spend tax payer’s money.
Committee chairperson Amos Lugoloobi requested State House officials to avail a breakdown of the 2.4 billion Shillings expenditure before a decision is made on the supplementary request.
Meanwhile State House also presented a supplementary budget request of 23 billion shillings before conclusion of the current financial year 2016/17.