Finance Officials Quizzed Over UGX 1.4B MPs' Trips

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In short
Ministry of Finance officials have failed to account for 1.4 billion shillings apparently spent on legislators’ travel to Nairobi during financial year ending 2013.

Ministry of Finance officials have failed to account for 1.4 billion shillings apparently spent on legislators’ and Ministers’ travel to Nairobi during financial year ending 2013.
 
During the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) meeting chaired by Serere Woman MP Alice Alaso, the accounting officer Emmanuel Mugunga told parliament that the money was paid to legislators to benchmark Youth Capital venture fund in Nairobi and Botswana.
 
He however failed to provide verification documents to prove that the two trips were undertaken.
 
According to Eastern Youth MP Peter Ogwang, the figures fronted by the Finance officers were exaggerated and parliament was being denied proper documentation.
 
 Mugunga told parliament that they had documents to support their claims but hadn’t been carried. PAC chairperson ordered him to produce the photocopy of the visas for the people who travelled and hotel receipts of the bills.
 
National Youth MP Monica Amoding, one of the MPs cited to be a beneficiary in the trips, denied ever going to Botswana. She said the Bostwana trip was suspended indefinitely after finance ministry claimed that they didn’t have funds for it.
 
URN has independently found out that the Bostwona trip was actually a ghost trip. Sources say although some MPs were tipped to travel to Bostwana , they only stopped in Nairobi. Some of the legislators who travelled include Western Youth MP Gerald Karuhanga, Monica Amoding ,  and Olivia Kwagala, the Iganga Woman MP.
 
Parliament also heard that the finance officials failed to avail documents to the auditors to prove that they had spent 1.5 billion shillings. Mugunga told the committee that at the time of auditing, the ministry hadn’t reconciled the documents and have since done so.
 
PAC tasked Mugunga to explain why the Hotel industry, Steel manufacturing and textile have continued to enjoy tax waivers yet they charge the same price like other companies which haven’t benefited.
The accounting officer revealed that the ministry is reviewing some sector beneficiaries of tax waiver.
 
Parliament also queried some betting companies which have continued to operate without licences. Moses Ogwapus, the commissioner in charge of tax, said some of the companies queried couldn’t fall in the betting category.

He however said the ministry has since imposed a 25% tax on gross salaries of the Casino owners.