MPs Grill Naguru Hospital Management Over UGX 150m Loss

5158 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
The Hospital management led by the Acting Director Dr. Edward Nkurunziza, former Director Dr. Edward Naddumba and Principal Administrator Winnie Sserwanja had appeared before the committee to explain queries raised in the 2015 Auditor Generals report.

Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has grilled the management of China-Uganda Friendship Hospital, Naguru for causing a financial loss of over 200 million shillings.
                     
The Hospital management led by the Acting Director Dr. Edward Nkurunziza, former Director Dr. Edward Naddumba and Principal Administrator Winnie Sserwanja had appeared before the committee to explain queries raised in the 2015 Auditor General's report.
 
In his audit report for the financial year ended June 2015, Auditor General John Muwanga cited the hospital's payments for construction without a certificate of payment.
 
He noted that a review of the contract for construction of the drug store together with payment records revealed that a sum of 453.8 million Shillings representing 60% of the contract sum was paid for works estimated at only 30%.
 
The auditor general attributed the over-payment to lack of certificates of works done and further noted that the works stalled after Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) stopped the construction because of lack of approved plans.
 
"There is no evidence that the advance payment was recovered since it was not based on payment certificate and further review revealed that architectural plans had not been approved by KCCA and the contract had expired," reads part of the auditor general's report.
 
Masaka Municipality MP, Mathias Mpuuga, who is the lead counsel of the committee, questioned the hospital management how construction kicked off without approval of plans.
 
"I am aware that if you have no approved plans, you should have a commencement letter, do you have a commencement letter," asked MP Mpuuga.
 
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Dr. Edward Nkurunziza, the Acting Director confirmed that the hospital did not receive approval from KCCA at the time of commencement but that they received the approval later.
 
Dr. Naddumba apologised for the over-payment to the contractor he identified as Engineer Tusubira for works not done.
  
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Dokolo South MP Felix Okot Ogong demanded the hospital management pays the money suspecting collusion between the management and KCCA officials to defraud government.
 
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Meanwhile, Members of Parliament also grilled the hospital management for failure to recruit crucial medical personnel despite being provided with funding. The MPs criticized the officials for failing in their duty of providing adequate health care to the public.
 
According to the Auditor General's report for the year ending 2015, despite 5.4billion Shillings being provided for the wage bill, staff recruitment was not adequately carried out.
 
The hospital lacks consultants in several specialties including ear nose and throat - ENT. Out of 14 consultancy positions only 7 are filled and an additional 44 positions remain vacant despite a 3-year recruitment exercise.
 
Dr Nkurunziza blamed the staffing gaps on the Health Service Commission which delays in carrying out the selection process.
 
The hospital's Principal Administrator Winnie Sserwanja blamed the gaps on recruits who prefer to stay at their work stations instead of transferring to Naguru.
 
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MP Okot Ogong and the deputy chairperson of the committee Gerald Karuhanga however refused to let the hospital off the hook stating that their approach to recruitment had led to the staffing problem.

 

About the author

Olive Nakatudde
Olive Nakatudde is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Nakatudde has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Nakatudde started out in journalism in 2009 with Dembe FM radio in Kampala. In 2012, Nakatudde joined Voice of Africa as a political reporter. She has been a photographer since her journalism school days at Makerere University.

Nakatudde is interested in good governance and public policy, which she reports on intensively from the Uganda Parliament. She is a keen follower of cultural affairs in Buganda Kingdom and covers the kingdom's Lukiiko (parliament). Nakatudde also reports on education and health.