HomeSocialMbarara City clerk in Hot Soup over Missing 111.7 million 

Mbarara City clerk in Hot Soup over Missing 111.7 million 

Joshua Nahamya

Mbarara

09 September 2023

Mbarara City Town Clerk Assay Abirebe has been probed by city councilors to explain the missing 111.7 mln supposed to be collected from Kikona market located in Nyakayojo ward Mbarara city south division.

The angry councilors headed by Jenina Kyomuhendo, a female youth councillor during a council meeting on Wednesday asked the city town clerk why the matooke market tenderer has been remitting Shs 8 mln instead of 16.8 mln.

“Through you Mr. Speaker, we want the town clerk to explain why he is not implementing our resolutions. Initially the Kikona market tenderer was paying 10 mln and in 2016 we sat here in council and resolved that let the tender be increased to 16.8mkn but shockingly when you divide 101 mln returned every year by 12 months, you realise that he only pays Shs 8 mln?” Kyomuhendo asked

Jenina said that the same matter was petitioned to the IGG’s office but was not paid attention to. “We cannot have the same amount for Kikona market in this financial year when the matooke production is increasing day by day, actually that’s the issue that took us to the IGG’s office but has not responded since last year”.

She said the revenue shortfall will in turn affect the service delivery in the financial year 2023/24. “Whatever we are planning to do this financial year won’t be achieved because we shall fall short of the budget and if we fail as council we shall blame the technocrats because all these are qualified staff that we trust with council duties”

Godfrey Baryomunsi, City Councillor representing Mbarara City North A, through the speaker, asked councilors to suspend the city town clerk and the mayor to carry out investigations on the missing market funds for the past 7 years.

“Mr. Speaker enough is enough time has reached we must bite, we should not keep coming here just to lament, the accounting officer and the mayor should explain if they are involved in the Kikona matooke market. Where is the problem, don’t you know that there is a word censor or impeachment. Let’s tell the city clerk to step aside and we carry out through investigations because we are tired with such dirty corruption” Byaryomunsi explained

Godffrey Baryomunsi-Councillor representing Kakoma Ward, Ruharo Ward, Nyarubanga Ward, Kamukuzi Ward.

“We should not beat in the bush the mayor and the city clerk should explain in writing. If the IGG’s office has not helped us let us then try elsewhere I don’t think it is only the IGG’s office that investigates the government funds, let us attract the state house anti-corruption unit to investigate the issue of accountability in Mbarara city,” He added

When asked, the accused city clerk Assy Abirebe failed to explain why the council has been receiving little compared to the budgeted tender fees.

“I am also getting this information for the first time and I can’t confirm it honestly, I can’t justify that in the budget there is 8mln really I need to go and crosscheck”

When asked why the tender was not increased to 16.8 mln as approved by the council, the town clerk insisted that he needed more time to verify the matter.

“The source of that document that councillors had and how it came about is what I really need to find out. What exactly could have happened because I wasn’t even aware as I said I need to find out from my technical staff but it was an error it can’t be 8mln” Abirebe said

The Deputy Mayor, Prisca Murongo further asked the principal internal auditor to carry out a special audit on the usage of Shs 2,022,157,128 realized from the property rates for financial year 2022/223.

“For the issue of matooke market, we need the auditor to go there but as far as I know, Kikona people are paying 10 mln where the 8 mln has come from I don’t know. However for the property tax, I am not satisfied with the way how this money is being utilised and we told the town clerk to put an auditor to bring us the report and that meeting is on Monday because they brought the expenditure which I did not agree” Murongo explained

The speaker, Bonny Tashobya, gave an ultimatum of four days for the town clerk to explain the missing funds collected from the Kikona market.

“The onus is on us as a council to ask for an audit about any specific program, project, or property tax and it is a role of an internal auditor to give us a financial year audit report, therefore town clerk explained because we want to know how the Kikona money that we increased from 10mln to 16 mln reduced to 8mln without a council resolution yet we had someone who was even bidding up 24 mln a month, town clerk explain,” Tashobya said

He alleges that the reserved market revenue was downplayed by the civil servants to 8mln which the council will not allow.

“Town clerk, where is this money? Minister of finance explains, mayor, how does that discrepancy in figures come about? We don’t want any incompetence here, we don’t want people to crucify us that maybe we are part of the team that is mismanaging the taxpayers’ money here. Let us have an audit report such that on Monday we can come out with a conclusive resolution guided by facts about the missing funds but we must condemn corruption in this city” Tashobya emphasized

Lt. Col James Mwesigye, Resident City Commissioner (RCCC) Mbarara appealed to city councilors to avoid bribes if they are to kick corruption out of Mbarara.

“How I wish the way you are discussing issues should be the same seriousness you could show in fighting corruption but you can only do that when you are moving with clean hands,” Mwesigye said

He also supported the speaker in using his supreme powers to act against the people who have been stealing the city’s revenue from the local markets. “The council is the supreme body of this city unless we come to bite, then things will run out of hands. Let us stand to fight corruption in this city so that people can get services” Mwesigye said

“Do you need the IGG to implement your budget? In this case by the way the IGG would be the speaker like he has ordered the auditor to go and audit where our money is going, then the city clerk and your team implement what we put in the budget full stop.” He added

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