The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament (PAC) has ordered the Ministry of Justice to reprimand officers who failed to provide files to the office of the Auditor General for auditing the procurement of two vehicles worth K86 million .
The committee made the order on Thursday when officials from the Ministry of Justice appeared before it to answer questions arising from an audit query that the office of the Auditor General conducted.
The audit report covering the year ending June 30 2019 raised a number of queries such as missing documents and information on procurement of two vehicles worth over K86 million, a missing stores ledger to account for over K5 million, misallocation of about K3 million and misprocurements.
PAC chairperson Shadreck Namalomba expressed disappointment with the ministry’s failure to provide documents, saying it demonstrates negligence on the part of officials responsible for record keeping and financial management.
To avoid that becoming a habit, he ordered the Principal Secretary for administration Masauko Medi to reprimand those responsible for record keeping for failing to provide information on the vehicles, and asked them to provide a copy to the committee within one month.
“You should not spare the whip. All those concerned should be reprimanded. We do not want to see documents missing. The ministry should also exercise financial discipline,” said Namalomba.
He further said the controlling officer be in charge and ensure financial discipline and that documents do not miss at the ministry.
The committee also ordered that the missing ledger should be found within one month, failing which the committee will take action.
In an interview, Namalomba said the Ministry of Justice should be exemplary in handling financial issues. He said if documents can go missing at the ministry which keeps important documents, then the country is not safe.
Asked what penalties the committee expects to be given to the officers, Namalomba said there are processes that are followed; for instance, a warning or several warnings and if officers do not change, disciplinary action follows and if they still do not change, the officers risk being fired.
Medi admitted that there was negligence.
He added that he will reprimand those responsible; saying the challenge is that there are many hard copy documents which sometimes make it difficult to trace things.
The PS said as the ministry intends to move the old files to the Archives Department, it is also embarking on digitisation of record keeping.
The Public Service Act states that a public officer appointed on permanent and pensionable terms shall not be dismissed unless they are proved to have committed a prescribed act of misconduct.
They are presented with a notice of disciplinary charge in writing specifying the prescribed act of misconduct they are alleged to have committed.
They are allowed not less than 21 days from the date of the disciplinary charge to reply to the charge.