Uganda is a sad story. If the Auditor General is mandated to audit all areas where Government spends money, how can a company refuse to get documents concerning its agreements the basis on which payments are made among other things? Those in authority ought to move from childish way of doing business and realize that they have to do their duties professionally. Many of these reflections like those concerning Aggreko are real scandals. How can the auditor general on a serious note say that he failed to locate a company onwhich Government spends billions? If it is not a lie, then Uganda needs a lot of prayers.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka
Auditor General fails to acquire info on Aggreko
By NELSON WESONGA
Posted Thursday, January 26 2012 at 00:00
The power generator reportedly refused to provide information about its operations. The Auditor General’s attempts to review the power purchase agreements between the government and thermal power generator, Aggreko, have hit a snag with the latter refusing to provide information about its operations. Due to delays in commissioning Bujagali Dam, the government early this month extended Aggreko’s contract by three months, something that will earn the company Shs432 billion. Mr John Muwanga, the Auditor General, told Parliament’s Ad hoc Committee on Energy that despite several requests over a period of six months, the company did not honour requests to provide information. “Aggreko did not cooperate with my review,” said Mr Muwanga while appearing before the committee. Article 163 of the 1995 Constitution mandates the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) to conduct financial and value for money audits in respect to any projects involving public funds. The AG in September started a review of the energy sector to assess the extent to which the objectives of the energy sector reforms have been achieved and is expected to submit its findings to Parliament. He said it was ‘poor planning’ to extend the first two contracts with Aggreko by three years each instead of one six-year contract. “If the licences had been for [a] six-year duration, the tariff would have been lower,” said Mr Muwanga. The AG’s attempts to locate the physical address of Aggreko and its shareholders have also been taxing because its (Aggreko) office on Kampala Road ‘could not be located’ and as a result the AG office was referred to Dubai.
Brief case company
Mr Simon Mulongo, Bubulo East MP (NRM), said Aggreko ‘could be a briefcase company’. Mr Anthony Kimuli, an official from the OAG, said they would turn to the Registrar of Companies to establish the shareholders of Aggreko. The Senior Legal Counsel in the OAG, Ms Caroline Banabana, said Parliament should amend the Companies Act so as to give the Auditor General power to audit private firms. “We wouldn’t want a situation where we audit a private company and later be sued for acting beyond our powers,” said Ms Banabana. However, Ms Ann Maria Nankabirwa, MP for Kyankwanzi (NRM), said since such private firms are doing business with the government, it does not require amendment of the law, adding that the OAG is supposed to protect the interests of the government.