Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairperson Hon. Nathan Nandala Mafabi wants judiciary to explain how two flush toilets came to be constructed at a tune of close to 450 million shillings.
Key among these is a lavatory that was constructed on taxpayer’s money at Chief Justice Bart Katureebe’s home for Shs 13 million by Palwan Engineering Works limited.
A similar facility had been erected at the Entebbe Chief Magistrates court by Platinum Engineering limited a while back at Shs 436m.
Deducting from Auditor General (AG) John Muwanga’s June 2018 report, payments for these two facilities was extended in late March last year and October 25th 2017 respectively.
Speaking on Wednesday, a bewildered Mafabi said whereas the Chief Justice is entitled to such soothing facilities, a flush toilet can at most can cost Shs 5m.
“If the Chief Justice is staying in an institutional house that means that is how they will do it. I also have a flash toilet at home. At Shs 5m, I should be able to have a toilet,” said Mafabi.
As such, he says the committee will conduct a visit and verify these transactions at a yet to be decided date.
“We need to see the pictures and we shall visit to see that flash toilet of Shs 400m.”
Key among the talking points was about Shs 3bn diverted to cater for the purchase of 10 brand new vehicles for newly appointed judges.
This money was supposed to carry out the automation of court processes to reduce case backlog.
Deducting from above mentioned report, at the time altogether 159,336 cases had not been heard, an increase of 9.2%.
In defense, Kagole Kivumbi the entity’s permanent secretary said when this issue emerged, he wrote to Treasury Secretary Kenneth Muhakanizi, seeking advice.
Not convinced, MPs tasked Deo Kasozi, the senior Procurement Officer to explain this mess.
On his part, Kasozi failed to quote a provision despite saying the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act allows one to amend the law to provide for such emergencies.
Gauging the situation, Kivumbi offered a hearty apology.
“That is why I apologized. I was given advice and acted on that advice. I am now wiser,” Kivumbi begged for leniency.
Section 58(a & b) of the PPDA Act of 2003 provides that all procurement and disposing entities plan ahead and aggregate their demands to avoid incurring unnecessary expenditure.
The next hearing is slated for Wednesday next week.