MPs query sh10bn for market vendors
Officials from the ministry of finance and Microfinance Support Center (MSC) have been queried over misappropriation of sh10bn meant to give free interest loans to market vendors and small business operators through SACCOs.
The money acquired under the presidential initiative on market vendors and small business operators fund was approved by parliament during the financial year 2010/2011 as a supplementary budget.
However according to the auditor general’s report for the financial year ending June 2010/2011, MSC was not prepared to implement the project after the acting director MSC requested for guidelines and modalities of disbursing funds to SACCOs when they were released by ministry of finance to its account.
The auditor general also observed that due to external pressure, a number of re-allocations totaling to Sh 1.2b were made and new beneficiaries were brought on board which affected disbursement to SACCOs that had originally signed memorandums of understanding with MSC.
“What emergency was there to require for a supplementary budget ,would I be wrong if I said this money was used during the 2011 elections, why didn’t you ask for this money under the normal budget,” asked Kasiano Wadri the chairman Public accounts committee.
The officials from MSC however told the committee that they had never requisitioned for the money adding that it was ministry of finance that had sent in the supplementary budget request whose use they didn’t know.
“We got the money but we don’t know how to spend it until we wrote to the finance ministry asking for the guidelines and modalities on how to disburse the money,” said Wilson Wamatsembe the acting director MSC.
The committee however left the officials in shock when MP Christine Abia (Arua district) read out a letter to the officials by the then executive director MSC who asked the ministry of finance to release the funds since they had been approved by parliament.
“It was in error when were said we only knew about the money when it was in our account, I would like to apologize and withdraw the statement the letter was written and money approved,” said the deputy executive director MSC.
Appearing before the parliament public accounts committee yesterday, the officials led by Moses Kaggawa commissioner in charge of microfinance in the ministry of finance, were also quizzed over the criteria for selecting beneficiaries saying most of the beneficiary groups ,belonged to NRM.
The initiative which has been since suspended for investigations of misuse of Sh 10b was established with an aim of creating a revolving fund through which these economic agents could be able to access affordable working capital at no interest.