Kampala Lord Mayor, Mr Erias Lukwago used yesterday’s swearing in ceremony of the new Public Accounts Committee (Pac) team to implore them to remain professional so as to defend the interests of the Kampala people.
“It’s a historic moment and a dream comes true because it hasn’t been easy to have this body in place. Now that you have taken oath, you have the mandate to summon any one including me, the executive director and the Minister, among other employees at city hall without fear or favor,” Mr Lukwago said.
According to Section 58 (9) of the KCCA Act, the Committee shall examine the reports of the Auditor General, Chief Internal Auditor and any reports of commissions of inquiry and may, in relation to the reports, require the attendance of any councillor or officer to explain matter arising from the reports.
The members are; Mr Bob Kabonero, Mr Pontian Kaweesa, Ms Maria Nabbanja Ssentamu, Ms Betty Bainomugisha Ntuhe and Mr Michael Tugyetwena.
Mr Lukwago said that the task they have taken is challenging but urged them not to be cowed or intimidated by some people that might frustrate their work.
“As an authority, we have put a lot of confidence in you and your being here will not only benefit the political wing but also the institution at large. There is a very big backlog because for the last six years, Pac hasn’t been in place. It will help our electorate to get accountability of the taxes they pay,” he said.
Mr Ssengendo, one of the accountants, said that they will pursue their duties in line with the KCCA Act.
“The task we supposed to do is challenging but we shall do our best to fulfill our obligation,” he said.
Yesterday’s swearing in took place after a long delay in approving the team by the Kampala Minister, Ms Beti Kamya whom Mr Lukwago later accused of frustrating his work as the political head of the city.
However, on January 30 this year, Ms Kamya approved the team and noted that the KCCA Act mandates the Authority to appoint the Pac team.
During the same function, the city valuation team, which will act as an arbitration court between tax payers in the city and KCCA, was also sworn in.
One of the roles of this team is to ensure that tax payers pay tax that is commensurate to their levels of income.
This team has three members and they will be led by city lawyer, Mr Asuman Basalirwa, who is also the president General of JEEMA party.
Others members on this team are; Ms Josephine Nalubega and Mr Denis Wandera Ocol, who are also lawyers.
Mr Basalirwa said: “We recognise that the task ahead us is enormous but we pledge to offer our professional expertise to serve the city without fear or favor”
The swearing ceremony of these two teams was presided over by city hall magistrate, Ms Beatrice Khainza and it was attended by both members of the political and technical wing.
For the last six years, KCCA has not had both Pac and the Arbitration court as Mr Lukwago was controversially impeached while in the process of instituting them.
The two teams are appointed by the Lord Mayor and they are required to hold serve for five years but can be re-appointed for an extra 5-year term.
KCCA Director of internal audit, Mr Moses Bwire acknowledged the fact that there is a heavy task that awaits the new teams but noted that the technical team will always be available for help.
“Your coming will absolutely help us because there is indeed a backlog that was caused by your absence,” he said.
Kampala Central division mayor, Mr Charles Musoke Sserunjogi revealed that the defunct Kampala City Council (KCC) was synonymous with corruption scandals, warning the new team to be corrupt free to make the institution better.
“We have put trust in you to promote institutional growth so that our elections become relevant for the people who voted for us,” he said.