The local government officials in Karamoja region have been blamed for failure of agricultural progammes that led to the loss of 23 billion shillings.
Firm Engineering Limited charged government 500,000 shillings to plough a single acre of land. A total of 9,549 acres of land was allegedly ploughed in the districts of Kaboong, Napak, Pader, Nakapiripirit and Kotido districts.
However, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) led by Terego county MP noted that the firm did not explain to the beneficiaries how many times the tractors would appear in one field.
Terence Sodium Achia Napak MP said there were complaints that some work was not done and the firm was allowed to interact with direct beneficiaries instead of the district agricultural officers.
However, Janet stated that Firm Engineering only interacted with beneficiaries because the agricultural officers were not doing their job.
The Karamoja affairs minister was justifying the use of seven non OPM staff as mobilisers and one coordinator for agricultural projects in Karamoja region. However, the committee noted that apart from Nakapiripirit district where she supervised, Firm Engineering Limited carried out shoddy work in the other six districts.
When asked if they are paid by OPM since some of them have been seen flying to Karamoja, Janet explained that they are facilitated by German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).
Bukonzo East Member of Parliament, Yokasi Bihande also questioned what type of political supervision the minister was doing to ensure that money is not lost. A defensive Janet stated that tax payers’ money is safe since she is doing her job, but it is OPM PS Pius Bigirimana who should be answerable to any financial issues raised within the ministry.
The committee demanded that Janet further explain her political supervisory role in relation to the money allocated to her ministry. However, she sternly stated, she is not going to discuss money because it is not her responsibility.
PAC lead counsel MP Maxwell Akora also questioned how 3.5 billion shillings was given to the ministry of Karamoja as imprest in petty cash. The Auditor General’s report pointed out those 36 OPM officers got personal advances to administer the money.
According to an internal memo prepared by Geoffrey Kazinda, he sought for 3.5 billion shillings from the UK-Uganda post conflict to undertake activities under the ministry of Karamoja.
The Karamoja minister also answered queries regarding the building of teachers and health workers houses, electronic branding of cattle, hydro foam production among others that are under her docket. Even though the MP’s observed that some of the projects were not handled properly the state minister maintained that her office was doing a commendable job on the ground.