Gulu District Leaders, Minister Todwong Clash Over Unspent Funds

2341 Views Gulu, Uganda

In short
Minister Todwong, who is currently in northern Uganda to monitor government programs, said that Gulu district has returned to the treasury 633 million shillings meant for Primary Health Care, after failing to spend it the 2012/2013 financial year which ended on June 30.

A row has erupted between Minister Richard Todwong and Gulu district leaders over millions of unspent government money.

Todwong, the Minister Without Portfolio, sparked off the row recently when he accused Gulu district leaders of failing to spend money meant for Primary Health Care-PHC and tertiary education.

Todwong, who is currently in northern Uganda to monitor government programs, claims that Gulu district has returned to the treasury 633 million shillings meant for Primary Health Care, after failing to spend it the 2012/2013 financial year which ended on June 30.

He also said that Gulu has also failed to spend 276 million shillings that was released by the central government for paying salaries of teachers in tertiary institutions.  A copy of the report that a URN reporter saw indicates that Gulu has also not spent unconditional grants totaling to 357 million shillings.

Minister Todwong warned that he would recommend for the sacking of the Chief Administrative Officer for alleged incompetence. He also accused the Gulu district chairperson, Ojara Mapenduzi, of allegedly failing to ensure that the money is spent.

But Mapenduzi has hit back saying the minister is out of order since the district has not returned any funds to the treasury.

Ojara says the law allows them to spend the unconditional grants up to 30th of September and wondered where Todwong got his figures from. He described Todwong as an idle minister who wants to be seen to be doing work. Mapenduzi however remained silent on the other monies quoted by Minister Todwong which should have been spent and accounted for by June 30.

John Okwonga, the Gulu District Secretary for Health also accused the minster of interfering in the management of the district. Okwonga also claims no money has yet been returned to the treasury as indicated by the minister.

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Abdallah Musobya Kiganda, the Chief Administrative Officer, also says the district has not returned money as claimed by the minister.
As the leaders continue to squabble, the district is performing poorly in the implementation of Primary Health Care. Village Health Teams who are charged with the responsibility of providing first aid and mobilizing women for antenatal care and treatment have not been paid for several months.

The team last got a token of appreciation six months ago during the indoor residual spraying exercise.
Several VHTs interviewed by URN in Gulu town say they lack basic kits for first aid.