The State House Comptroller Lucy Nakyobe Mbonye has revealed that State House failed to retrieve Shs39million from workers who had received double payments.
Nakyobe who appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Tuesday to answer questions on State House operations said many staff had loans which made it hard for them to bring back the money.
The mystery was revealed by Lwemiyaga County Member of Parliament Theodore Ssekikubo who asked Nakyobe to tell the committee why she presented double payment files.
“The extent of creating a double-file and double payment is so serious that it goes to the root of the appropriation and the budget discipline. Is this the way finance/State House is transacting its business?” asked Ssekikubo.
Nakyobe responded that Shs39 million double payment was not caused by State House, but the mistake caused by the Ministry of finance.
“Finance dealt with Bank of Uganda and they recovered some money from the State House suppliers. However, for State House staff members, it was hard to recover the money because some staff had loans and as soon as the money went on their accounts, it was taken off,” Nakyobe explained.
However, her explanation didn’t satisfy the committee which prompted Ssekikubo to again ask her to explain the unique relationship between State House and the Ministry of Finance.
“The explanation by the officer seems to be shifting the responsibility from the duplicated payment. It’s like there’s room between Finance and State House to process their payments as they wish outside the provisions of the law,” Ssekikubo said.
However, Nakyobe refuted Ssekikubo’s allegations and said it was a mistake done by the Ministry of Finance and staff who were involved in the scandal had already used it the money.
She added that when finance made this mistake (UGX39 million double payment), they informed State House that a mistake had been made. But the State House told them to put it into writing.
“After writing to us, we also called our staff members that were involved. However, some said they had used the money, others said they had bank loans and the bank had taken the money. The only way we had to help finance get this money is to recover from staff from the future money,” said Nakyobe.
On the claims by National Housing that it owns a plot that was enclosed within the State House, Nakyobe said they are in processes of paying off this plot.
“State House has been occupying this plot of land that was for National Housing since the 1990s. However we went into negotiations with National Housing and it was agreed that will be offered at Shs7.7bn. So far Finance (ministry) has only given us Shs2 bn by way of supplementary which we paid,” she said.