The Solicitor General Francis Atoke refused to accept blame for failing to absorb 148m that remained unspent at the end of the 2018/2019 financial year, he insisted that the fault lies with the treasury that failed to release the funds in time.
The Solicitor General Francis Atoke has blamed the failure
by the Justice ministry to absorb its entire budget on late disbursement of
Atoke was appearing before the Public accounts committee of
parliament on Thursday as the accounting officer of the Justice Law and Order Sector (JLOS)
sector to answer queries in the auditor general’s report for the financial year
MPs on the committee led by the chairperson Nandala Mafabi tasked
him to explain why a balance of Shillings 148m remained unspent out of a total
disbursement of 1.7bn shs to the ministry of Justice and constitutional affairs
for the year under review. The bulk of this money was an unutilized Shillings 72m meant
for staff training.
Relatedly according to the auditor general’s report a
total of 19.6bn under the JLOS institutions remained unspent by the end of the
financial year out of available funds totaling to Shillings 102bn.
Atoke however argued that late release of funds by the treasury
was the reason some disbursements remained unspent, he claimed that monies for
the final quarter were released in June when the financial year was ending making
it impossible to execute the planned activities.
Atoke pointed to a case in the year under review where 3bn
shs was released to the Justice ministry in June and the ministry had to
struggle to ensure that the activities it had planned for were executed
before the close
of the financial year, he however said this was impossible given the
time until the end of the financial year when unused balances are
revert back to the consolidated fund.
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The Amudat woman MP Mary Nauwat was curious about how Shillings
59.5m meant for newspapers and books remained unspent and inquired from Atoke
about whether or not the ministry has pre-qualified firms who can be called
upon on short notice when the need arises.
Atoke argued that it would not be possible to have the books
supplied on short notice since they are printed in the UK, Australia and the
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Nandala Mafabi however observed that at the start of every
quarter the entities receive a cash limit detailing how much funds they should
expect and plan accordingly but Atoke noted that the cash limit arrived on the 29th
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When Atoke denied to take responsibility for the failed
procurements Nandala Mafabi asked him to provide evidence of late receipt of
funds. The committee has in the meantime promised to follow up the matter with
the Secretary to the Treasury.