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Auditor General apologizes over inflated Judiciary toilet costs

Auditor General John Muwanga

Auditor General John Muwanga

The auditor general John Muwanga has apologized to judiciary for a typing error that saw money used to construct two water-borne toilets inflated by more than Shs 390 million from Shs 43 million to Shs 436 million.

In an audit report of the judiciary, Muwanga showed that the toilet for the Chief Magistrate’s court in Entebbe was constructed at a cost of Shs 436,102,014. The cost was queried by the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and judiciary officials failed to explain how the figure came about. Now, Muwanga says that figure was an error and has apologised for it.

“The amount of Shs 436,102,014 stated in the schedule was a typographical error and the correct amount spent for the construction was Shs 43,610,204,” the auditor wrote in a statement.

The statement adds, “the office of the auditor general regrets any inconvenience of the inadvertent error may have caused the person of the Hon. chief justice and the institution of the judiciary as a whole.”    

The auditor general maintained the figure of Shs 13,103,015 as the amount used for the construction of the water borne toilet facility at the residence of the chief justice. Muwanga says the office of the auditor general commits itself “to continue to uphold principles of integrity, objectivity and professional competence while undertaking its constitutional mandate.” 

When contacted, the judiciary spokesperson Solomon Muyita said the AG's apology should have come a little bit earlier before the judiciary officers faced PAC.  

“We appreciate the fact that the auditor general has come up to own a mistake from his officers. The owning up should have come a little bit earlier and guided the general public before our officials went to PAC,” Muyita said. 

On July 31, the chief justice Bart Katureebe while speaking at the handover ceremony of Kagole Kivumbi, the former permanent secretary to the judiciary tasked the incoming PS, Pius Bigirimana to conduct investigations into construction of two flush toilets.  

He said if anybody has swindled public funds he or she should be held accountable. But Katureebe condemned acts meant to tarnish people's names and image of the entire judiciary.

Kagole has been under fire from PAC after failing to provide answers to a number of queries arising from the auditor general’s report. The report was for the financial year 2017/2018.  

The queries included Shs 430 million that was given to Platinum Engineering Limited for the construction of toilets at Entebbe Chief Magistrate's court and the Shs 13 million given to Palwan Engineering Works Limited, a company that constructed the flush toilet at chief justice Katureebe’s home.    

Kagole also failed to account for more than Shs 32 billion that was reportedly wired to the personal accounts for judicial officers. 

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