Last week, the Parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities, and State Enterprises (Cosase) requested the Inspector General of Government (IGG) to investigate Charles Ouma, the former deputy director in charge of Litigation, and Richard Lule, the former director for Human Resources at Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA).
The committee accused the two individuals of signing a consent judgment that resulted in the payment of individuals who were not hired by KCCA despite being recruited by the Public Service Commission. In 2017, the affected individuals took the matter to court, and KCCA entered a consent judgment, agreeing to pay them a total of Shs 3.7 billion.
This amount represented the wages they would have earned if they had worked at KCCA for a five-year period. However, KCCA management stated that the consent judgment was not approved by the legal team or the then-accounting officer.
During the committee proceedings, Ouma and Lule, who are now former staff of KCCA, defended their actions. Ouma claimed that the consent judgment was made in the best interest of KCCA and aimed to save the entity from incurring substantial costs if the matter proceeded to trial.
The committee noted that KCCA management had filed a case challenging the consent judgment, arguing that it was entered into without the approval of the Central Executive Committee.
The court ruled that the internal workings of the applicant, in this case, KCCA, were business matters, and individuals dealing with the institution could not determine whether the directors had the authority to sign on behalf of the organization The authority claimed that Ouma and Lule acted improperly by entering the consent judgment without the approval of the KCCA leadership.
As a result, the committee recommended that the Inspectorate of Government investigate the two individuals for their unilateral role in this matter. These investigations by Cosase were prompted by discrepancies and misappropriation of funds highlighted in the auditor general’s report on KCCA’s financial statements for the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2022.
The committee also noted that out of the Shs 313.67 billion received by KCCA during the financial year, Shs 303.11 billion was spent, resulting in an unspent balance of Shs 13.56 billion, equivalent to an absorption level of 95.7 per cent. The unspent funds were returned to the consolidated fund.
According to Dorothy Kisaka, the executive director of KCCA, delays in the recruitment of teachers and health workers by the ministries of Education and Sports and Health contributed to the underutilization of funds.
The committee recommended that KCCA management work closely with the ministries of Education and Sports, and Health to expedite the recruitment of teachers and health workers, enhancing the provision of much-needed services in these areas.
Concerning the management of land, the committee discovered that out of the 242 pieces of land measuring approximately 184.818 hectares held by KCCA, 24 pieces measuring approximately 36.79 hectares (19.6 per cent) valued at Shs 34.6 billion had been encroached upon by the local population.
KCCA had neglected to secure and take possession of some of its land, resulting in squatters residing on the premises for extended periods. The committee recommended that KCCA management take immediate action to secure its land and resolve any third-party claims through court proceedings.
Additionally, the committee high- lighted the issue of domestic arrears, with KCCA having a long-term liability of Shs 42.5 billion arising from a development credit agreement that has never been serviced. The committee recommended that the Attorney General provide guidance on how to deal with this loan within three months.
Furthermore, it was discovered that KCCA had failed to remit statutory deductions amounting to Shs 4.1 billion to the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) by the end of the financial year. The committee emphasized the need for KCCA to promptly remit statutory deductions and prioritize the payment of such obligations to avoid penalties and safeguard the livelihoods of employees.
Lastly, the committee learned that KCCA was in the process of acquiring 10 acres of land in Kisenyi at a cost of $100 million (Shs 370 billion) to resettle vendors operating on the streets of Kampala. However, there was an existing claim on the land by another party, and proper valuation and adherence to procurement laws were not evident. The committee recommended that KCCA immediately cease the acquisition process and follow the appropriate procurement laws for acquiring land for vendors.
These recommendations were made by the committee to address the identified issues and ensure transparency, accountability, and effective management of resources within KCCA.
Story Credit: firstname.lastname@example.org (Observer)
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