Uganda: Malaria control boss kept money in his personal savings account

30 Jan 2006
AND Network

The Judicial Commission of inquiry into the mismanagement of US$201 million Global Fund heard on Wednesday that the money from the Project Management Unit (PMU) was intended to carry out training on home based management of malaria in various districts of Uganda on behalf of the Ministry of Health.

Kato told the Commission, chaired by Justice James Ogoola that this was a general practice by the Ministry of Health official to deposit huge sums of money into their personal accounts from where they could withdraw bits of it to implement various projects.

The Commission was scrutinising a damning audit report from the Auditor General's office that cited Kato to have misappropriated millions of shillings through the irregular method.

The report indicates that Kato's accountability failed to explain the expenditure of over Shs56 million in total. "Dr. Kato, doesn't it disturb you that you put public money into your personal account? What if, God forbid, you dropped dead, how could the government trace all this money, because it is personal?" Ogoola quizzed.

Kato answered that the ministry was using that system where officials could bank public money into their accounts and withdraw it from various nationwide Stanbic bank branches to implement programmes.

Kato, however, sent the Commission into laughter when he said that he could not remember the names of other officials who banked the ministry's money into their personal savings accounts.

He said he was shocked that the Auditor General's report doubted his accountability that was approved by internal auditors in the Ministry of Health.
Asked Ogoola: The Auditor General is saying you have not accounted for this money, you are saying you accounted for it, whose word should the Commission believe, yours or the Auditor General's"?

"My word my lord, not the Auditor General's word," Kato said sending the Commissioners and members of the gallery into prolonged laughter.

Kato said he was disturbed to come across the Auditor General's "allegations" which were compiled without his knowledge.

"You will have a chance to answer these queries at an appropriate fora, as far as we are concerned, your answers are not satisfactory. Prepare yourself to explain at an appropriate time," Ogoola said without elaborating.

The Commission had earlier dismissed Kato's payment vouchers and lists from various training workshops, whose signatures seemed to have been written by one person.$StorySummary$1.$DirectLink$2&sp=l14557