KAMPALA. The Justice and Constitutional Affairs ministry has placed a request to the Finance ministry to okay a Shs450m reallocation to buy a vehicle for Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana.
Daily Monitor has established that Solicitor General Francis Atwoke’s office has written to the Finance minister asking for virement, which the Public Finance Management (Amendment) Act 2015 defines as “the reallocation of funds within the budget of a vote, from a budget line to another budget line.”
But it remains unclear which budget line will be affected by the reallocation of cash to cater for Mr Mwesigwa’s official cruise.
Asked to clarify the budget line from which the reallocation is to be made, Solicitor General Francis Atwoke told Daily Monitor in a telephone conversation that he is unwilling to comment on the matter.
“First of all, I don’t think it is for public consumption. I am not responding to that. I don’t discuss my budget with the press,” Mr Atwoke said before hanging up.
However, Mr Mwesigwa told Daily Monitor that he has not had an official vehicle for two years, yet his terms and conditions of service entitle him to a chauffeured vehicle.
“I have not had an official vehicle since I was appointed. I have been using my personal vehicle; it is two years yet my terms and conditions of service indicate that I must have an official vehicle,” he said.
But Mr Mwesigwa said he is not aware of the impending purchase, adding that “I don’t care where they get the money from.”
Finance ministry spokesperson Jim Mugunga said the Justice and Constitutional Affairs ministry should have considered the vehicle in their initial budget.
“The responsibility to budget for vehicles and other activities squarely lies with those ministries; in this case the ministry under which the vehicle requirement is placed should have been budgeted for,” Mr Mugunga said.
He, however, adds that any such reallocations must follow the due process, warning that the Finance ministry discourages reallocations and supplementary requests for purposes of budget discipline.
“If they choose to reallocate, there are processes which must be followed; for prudence of allocations, reallocations are being increasingly discouraged,” he said.
Section 22(1) of the Public Finance Management (Amendment) Act 2015 allows the Finance minister to a’….upon request by an Accounting Officer, vary within a vote, the amount of money allocated to a vote.”
Nevertheless, Section 22 places a caveat, stating that the reallocation shall not be more than 10 per cent of the money allocated for an item or an activity, should it be contentious or result in a future liability for the vote or the government.