Parliament Public Accounts Committee continues its inquiry into the alleged mismanagement of COVID-19 funds as highlighted in the Auditor General’s forensic audit report.
On Tuesday, the committee interrogated the minister for Science and Technology Dr. Monica Musenero over machines that were procured to facilitate research and development of COVID-19 vaccines that have never been utilized.
Frederick Angura, MP Tororo South articulates the procurement was to serve a very significant purpose at that time but unfortunately they have not served the purpose, he instructed the minister to admit that the machines have not served the purpose.
Sarah Opendi Woman MP Tororo assured the minister of being at the forefront in guiding the President through the vaccine process.
She further questioned the minister if she was not aware that she didn’t have land at the time she went ahead to procure the machines.
“By the time you go to procure the equipment, you must be aware that you have all the requirements, even where to place this equipment”
The committee members questioned Musenero on how the minister failed to put into use machines that cost the government 5.2 billion.
Musenero explained that the machine was not utilized because they failed to secure a suitable building to install it in after the available buildings were found unfit for the purpose.
Hon Angura further ascertained that the obtainable documents indicate that all the available machines had arrived on 2nd November 2021 which means by the time of the machine’s arrival, the minister was prepared to utilize it and above all, the warranty period for the machine was to end on the 2nd of November.
The legislator further eminent that no one can guarantee that the machines whose warranty already expired can serve their purpose.
On the other side Hon Nandala Mafabi, Mp, MP Budadiri West juxtapose the situation with buying a plane with no landing ground for it.
The auditor General’s report also noted that the Minister for Science procured 4 Centrifuge at 110Million shs for COVID-19 scientists at Makerere for anti-body diagnostic test kits but this equipment cannot be traced
Hon. Mafabi says according to the report, the Centrifuge was lost and never on the assets register
Hon.Musenero then supposed that by the time of the audit, this equipment was stored with much other equipment
Recently, the MPs also questioned where the minister got the mandate to reallocate the Ministry’s funds towards the rehabilitation of the laboratory at Makerere University without the approval of the permanent secretary.
Despite the government Investing over 31 Billion shillings in COVID-19 research, little progress has been made in Vaccine development
In the Financial Year 2019/2020, MoSTI had approved a budget of Shs10b for innovation, out of which Shs5.3b was reallocated by the ministry to Covid-19 expenditure.
The MoSTI has since been abolished and staff placed under the Office of the President.