PAC summons Heart Institute officials over Shs 464m theft

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has summoned three former officials of Uganda Heart Institute (UHI) over the missing Shs 464m.

The trio includes the former cashier, Domnic Ochola, the former chief accountant and the internal auditor.
 
They are wanted to account for Shs 464m from the institute. The decision to summon the officials came after Dr John Omangino, the director of the Institute failed to explain the loss of the money in question.
 
Dr Omangino appeared before the Committee with David Matovu, the chief accountant of UHI to respond to audit queries. In his June 2015 audit report, the Auditor General John Muwanga unearthed gross anomalies in the UHI resulting from weak internal controls.
 


The Heart Institute earns non-tax revenue of over Shs 2bn annually. The money is used to run activities of the institute in line with the annual work plan. However, only Shs 1.9bn out of the Shs 2.3bn that was received in the audit review period was banked. There are no records to show how the un-banked money was used.
 
Both Matovu and Dr Omangino failed to convincingly respond to several questions raised by the committee and what plans they had instituted to recover the funds.

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They instead shifted the blame on Dominic Ochola, a former cashier who was interdicted in 2014. However, the MPs led by the committee chairperson Angeline Osegge were unconvinced that such gross amounts could be stolen without the knowledge of the top officials.

Dr. Omangino explained that he contacted the finance ministry after uncovering the theft.
 
The MPs observed that the former cashier could have taken advantage of weak control mechanisms to receipt and bank revenue as well as reconcile accounts without supervision. 

A criminal complaint was registered with the Police against Ochola but Osegge was furious that since then, the institute has failed to reconcile its records to establish the extent of the theft.
 
“You mean you went to Police without being sure of the figures that you are contesting and the Police acted on these fellows and you weren’t sure of what you were complaining about?”, she asked.
 
Osegge then asked the Auditor General’s office to begin planning for a forensic audit of the institute and instructed the management to return before the committee on Thursday with Ochola and the former chief accountant as well as the former internal auditor.
 

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