Dr. Musenero Struggles to provide COVID-19 accountability Documents

Dr. Musenero Struggles to provide COVID-19 accountability Documents

The Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation, Dr. Monica Musenero struggled to provide accountability documents to Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (Central Governments).

Dr. Musenero alongside the State House Controller, Jane Barekye on Tuesday appeared before the committee that is considering the Auditor General’s forensic investigation report into COVID-19 funds received and expended by the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MoSTI) during financial years 2019/2020.

The forensic investigation was informed by a resolution of Parliament on a report of the Parliamentary Taskforce on the National Covid-19 response which requested the Auditor General to investigate Covid-19 funds.

The main objective of the forensic investigation was to ascertain whether all Covid-19 related spending was applied appropriately under existing laws, policies and guidelines, whether there was any loss in expenditure and clarify responsible officers and make recommendations for better use of Covid-19related funds.
In his report, the Auditor General said that his findings are specific to the procurement of the equipment, the disbursement of Covid-19 funds by the ministry and the utilization of the operational funds by the scientists approved by the Presidential Scientific Initiative on Epidemics.

Presidential Scientific Initiative on Epidemics was a presidential initiative chaired by Musenero, who was then a Senior Presidential Advisor on Epidemics.

The Auditor General reported that while conducting his investigations, Musenero failed to provide accountability documents like proof of submission of accountability by PRESIDE by MoSTI, approved adjusted budgets for the lab animal house project, PRESIDE follow-up on the uninstalled equipment for scientists and record regarding status of equipment.
“Hon. Monica Musenero did not provide the documents listed below whose existence she had disclosed during her interview with me on 05 July 2022. I could not make the conclusions I could have made; had I obtained and reviewed the documents from PRESIDE,” the Auditor General reported.

Tasked by the Committee Chairperson, Hon. Medard Sseggona to explain why the listed documents had not been availed to the Auditor General, Musenero said that she did not give the documents because she had not understood what was being asked for.
Further queried, the Minister changed her statement and indicated that the ministry was in transition and that at the time of the interview, all documents had earlier been taken away by the Auditor General.

She also told the committee that it was possibly an omission not to avail the documents.
“We handed them to the Auditor General when they came the first time. We had them submitted to him before.

The accountabilities are all in State House and I gave them all to the auditor General,” she said.

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