HomeBUSINESSMbarara divisions to sue city officials over nonremittance to consolidated funds

Mbarara divisions to sue city officials over nonremittance to consolidated funds

Joshua Nahamya

Mbarara city divisions threaten to drag their mother council to court for failing to release their property collections and consolidated funds worth Shs 1.5 bln.

Godfrey Tumusiime, the division speaker said Mbarara City South Division demands the city council about Shs 944 mln while Mbarara City North Division demands the city about 600 mln.

According to Tumusiime, the said money was supposed to be paid to the two divisions as a return for the financial year 2022/23.

“It is the divisions that collect revenue to the city center and in return, we are supposed to receive 50 percent of the total collections but this financial year we are demanding and our mother council has not complied,” he said

Tumusiime said, “The financial year ended on 30th June 2023 and when we made an alarm they brought external auditors that eventually reduced it to Shs 229 mln which also they haven’t paid”.

He said that they signed a memorandum of understanding with the city council giving it an ultimatum of paying all the money within 6 months that has not been respected.

“We had a dialogue in April we gave them 6 months to pay us all the money but since then nothing has ever been paid and that’s why we are ending up in court,” Tumusiime said

Mbarara City Town Clerk, Assy Abirebe Tumwesigire appealing the divisions to remain calm as council looks into the matter. Joshua Nahamya

The same resolution was passed by Mbarara city north division that demands the mother city over 600 mln.

“Let them pay what they think we demand of them, we even asked for a payment plan but go to the city clerk we don’t have an MOU. We are very ready, the documentation is proper we are only waiting for some few things to take them to court” Gumisiriza Kyabwisho, Mbarara City North division mayor said

Kyabwisho said it has crippled development and service delivery in divisions because of a lack of funds to work on roads, and schools among others.

“We have made a resolution to petition the Minister of Local Government and the Auditor General to come and audit Mbarara city council. They need to explain how they use the tax payers’ money” he said

Moses Kajubi, chairperson of social services in Mbarara City South also confirmed that the division council passed to drag Mbarara city council to court to release funds to offer service delivery to the people in the area. “Look at the dilapidated 6 bridges connecting the city, we are stuck and our hands cannot remain tied when the city is holding our money, let them release the funds, or else we battle it in court,” Kajubi said

The city Town clerk, Assy Abirebe Tumwesigire acknowledged the money for the two divisions and reported that they are willing to pay.

“Mbarara city has one account, they are claiming for the money which is 30% we calculated, verified, and found that we were supposed to give the south division about 280 mln and also give about 95 mln to the north division and we have already started paying,” Tumwesigire said

He said the money will be paid in an installment to avoid crippling services at the center. “We paid their money up to the end of the last financial year. We cannot afford to pay that money wholesomely because when we pay it at once, we shall also cripple service delivery here at the center but we are paying and they know it better”.

Moses Jubilant-Chairperson Social Services Mbarara City South Division adding is voice on the issue of suing the city council for defaulting the division funds. Joshua Nahamya

Regarding property tax, Tumwesigire said it is an outburst that should not be taken seriously by the city divisions.

“Property rate is a gazette fund in the local government rating act 2015, it is not shareable revenue, and it is collected by a city council and administered by a city council. The divisions have no claim on that money whatsoever that claim is outrageous” he said

Tumwesigire appealed to the division leaders threatening to sue the mother city to be patient as the council is willing to pay. “We have been paying and we are committed to pay that money such that we are on the same page by the end of this financial year. Nobody should think about court because you cannot sue yourself”

The City Town Clerk said the divisions should not think about operating independently far away from the city center. “I think the challenge that is cropping up in their head is to think that they are independent which is wrong. They are the lower local government and I am the only accounting officer in the city who knows what is supposed to go to them and what is meant for us”.

Mbarara City Mayor, Robert Mugabe Kakyebezi also challenged the Ministry of Local Government to address the issue of property sharing between the Mbarara district and Mbarara City.

“The minister of local government should speed up the process of the issues of the city and districts at rest because it has taken a long time. We are currently struggling with space whereby we now have some of our new staffs who don’t have where to sit” Kakyebezi said

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