MPs grill Kagina over UGX 430bn spent on contingent liabilities

MPs grill Kagina over UGX 430bn spent on contingent liabilities
UNRA Executive Director Allen Kagina appearing before before the Parliament COSASE committee to respond to queries raised in the Auditor General's report for the year 2017/2018. The Committee meeting was chaired by Hon Ibrahim Ssemujju

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) Executive Director, Allen Kagina has been tasked to explain why the body spent 430 billion shillings on contingent liabilities in 2017/2018 financial year.

The Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) highlighted the audit query among the several queries in the report of the Auditor-General for the financial year that ended June 2018.

According to the report, out of the 3.8 trillion shillings of the approved budget for UNRA, the authority set aside 430 billion shillings for lawsuits against it, most of which were land-related.

The Auditor-General noted that though there was a decrease in contingent liabilities from shillings 476.3 billion in 2016/2017 to shillings 430 billion, the amount was still huge and could result in potential loss of funds in the event UNRA lost the cases.

Lyemiyaga County MP, Theodore Ssekikubo asked Kagina to explain UNRA’s high contingent liabilities.

Kagina told the committee that UNRA does not have control of the court process, but has tried to engage with the parties involved to settle claims with reduced amounts.

Kagina also asked the director for legal services, Mary Kutesa to give details of the contingent liabilities.

Kutesa explained that contingent liabilities have been reducing in the last three financial years, from 2016/2017 and that in 2017/2018, the actual amount for contingent liabilities was shillings 234 billion. This is because shillings 196 billion had been provided for in UNRA’s approved budget and that the body has reduced the liabilities to about shillings 140 billion due to engagement with the parties to settle claims without costs or at reduced costs.

Kutesa also noted that some of the cases are worth shillings 100 billion and therefore UNRA has to look for funds to ensure that such claimants are paid when they win in court.

However, Ssekikubo says that UNRA paid shillings 230 billion to settle legal suits and yet it was not budgeted for and thereby crippled other planned activities.

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The acting committee chairperson Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda tasked Kagina to provide a list of some of the cases against UNRA and how much they are demanding in court.

Kagina cited two cases where a one Taremwa Kamishani Thomas and others sought an injunction against works on Mbarara-Katuna Road project demanding for fair valuation and 80 billion shillings for compensation for 5,000 project affected persons and Walugembe Mukasa Charles who demands 10 billion shillings for special damages and loss of structures in Kyadondo, Bwaise due to construction of the Northern By-pass.

Other cases also include Patrick Lwanga Zizinga and Zion Construction Limited who are claiming between shillings 1 billion to 17 billion in land compensation.