Army denies misuse of seedlings funds


Kampala. The Operation Wealth Creation programme officers have distanced themselves from allegations of misappropriation of more than Shs900 million meant for procurement of inputs.
The UPDF soldiers have come under attack after it emerged that the funds remained unaccounted for during the 2016/2017 financial year. Several people have taken to social media to criticise the OWC secretariat for the mess, asking them to come clean on the matter.

The Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) during its budget review last week discovered that a total of Shs932 million meant for tea seedlings project had remained unaccounted for. The budget advocacy group said over the years, government had invested huge amounts of money in the tea sector, but the results have not been commensurate with the investments.

“On supply of tea seedling to farmers, government invested Shs100b since 2013. Unaccounted acreage and seedlings valued at Shs932m has been identified. Underperformance can be attributed to lack of extension services yet Shs1.4 billion for the same was paid,” the statement on the official twitter handle of the CSCAG reads in part.
The group was not specific on whether it is OWC or National Agricultural Advisory Services (Naads) secretariat that failed to account for the money.
However, the OWC public relations officer, Maj Tabaro Kiconco, has said they do not control money for the procurement of supplies and inputs.

Not involved
“Our attention has been drawn to information circulating on social media purporting failure to account for money to the tune of Shs932m for seedlings. Operation Wealth Creation does not control money for seedlings or any other agricultural products and as such does not have a budgetary vote or an accounting officer as would be required in such circumstances where handling and expenditure of public money is concerned,” Maj Kiconco said.
He said the programme budget is controlled by Naads and that procurement is done by the secretariat and that they only come in during the distribution process.

“All budgetary appropriations by the government of Uganda towards improving household incomes through commercialisation of agriculture are channelled through the Naads, which is the government entity designated to undertake the function and has the required accounting structures. The minds behind these allegations are misinformed and ignorant,” he said.
Our efforts to reach Naads executive director, Dr Samuel Mugasi, were futile.

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