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Kampala — A deal to install closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras across the country to curb murders has raised funding queries after the police got Shs60b to spend on them in two months before the end of the current financial year.

The police force wants $124m (Shs60b) for the implementation of the National CCTV project, with the budget scheduled to be allocated in three installments of $17.4m, $61m and $ 45m if CCTV cameras are to be installed in all major towns and busy highways across the country as per the President's directive.

As Parliament passed the Shs900b supplementary budget in which the Shs60b for CCTV cameras is comprised, some MPs questioned how the police will utilise Shs60b in two months before the close of the2017/18 financial year with the Force having only conducted "due diligence" as part of the project.

Road blocks

The supplementary budget had hit road blocks on earlier occasions due to controversies surrounding the CCTV cameras and other allocations. On Thursday Butambala County MP Muwanga Kivumbi and Dokolo Woman MP Cecilia Ogwal tabled a minority report detailing what they say the Shs900b supplementary request offends the Public Finance Management Act.

"Due to bureaucratic processes, it is practically impossible to complete the procurement [of CCTV cameras] within the remaining two months to the closure of the FY 2017/18. There is no need to approve any supplementary expenditure request for the project. The project should normally be budgeted for and incorporated in the police budget for 2018/19," the minority report reads in part.

This supplementary budget had initially been rejected by Parliament.

Attorney General William Byaruhanga had also written to Finance minister Matia Kasaija warning that the Shs900b supplementary request must follow the requirements of the Public Finance Management Act.

In a letter to the Finance Minister, the Attorney General warned, for instance, that the Shs9.9b supplementary to the National Identification and Verification Authority (Nira) is illegal because the re-allocation would be beyond the minimum 10 per cent of its budget provided for in the Public Finance Management Act.

"It is clear that a vote should not request for a virement beyond 10 per cent (of its budget) and the minister should not approve a virement beyond 10 per cent as provided for in Section 22 of the Act.

A virement beyond 10 per cent is therefore illegal regardless of it being referred to as 'technical supplementary' by the Ministry of Finance," Mr Byaruhaga wrote. Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda admitted that government is facing challenges with the Public Finance Management Act, but insisted that the supplementary funding had to be passed.

"Obligations have been undertaken and contracts made and it is the duty of government to respect these contractual obligations," Dr Rugunda said.

President Museveni ordered for the procurement of CCTV cameras to beef up security in major towns and busy highways in the wake of shootings that killed a number of people, some high profile such as former police spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi.

He said the cameras would help in identifying lawbreakers.


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Publish date : 2018-05-05 18:27:50
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