Accountability: Kagole Kivumbi dodges Parliamentary hearing

Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee on Wednesday deferred its sitting after the Permanent Secretary of the Judiciary Expedito Kagole Kivumbi snubbed the committee’s summons to appear before it and answer audit queries contained in the Auditor General’s report covering the 2015/16 and 2016/17 financial years.

Kivumbi instead sent a team led by Christopher Ebel, the Commissioner in-charge of Engineering and Technical Services, who informed the MPs that Kagole wasn’t in position to appear before the committee drawing protests from the MPs.

Committee chairperson Angeline Osegge said the committee cannot proceed without Kagole attending in person to account for financial resources under his control.

“Accountability is personal to the accounting officer, but also, even if he wasn’t around, he didn’t alert us in time. They didn’t write to communicate to us that he was not (coming), he just sent his officers to tell us he won’t be around which we think is contempt of the committee,” Osegge said.

“We write to them two weeks in advance, so they should be able to write to us that the accounting officer isn’t available either we reschedule [the meeting],” Osegge added.

Osegge said, the officers that Kagole had sent to represent him were less than five months in office who could not offer much to the committee.

Osegge said, the committee had also planning summoned Kagole’s predecessor to Dorcas Okalany, currently Permanent Secretary at Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development to appear on November 13 since most of the queries raised happened during her tenure.

The Judiciary is supposed to respond to concerns relating to the escalating contingent liabilities for Court awards and compensations that stood at more than Shs4.3 trillion as at June 30, 2015 but increased to more than Shs 5.5 trillion within a year.

Contingent liabilities comprise of cases that have been filed against government pending hearing plus others cases being heard as well as cases in which government has appealed against the court ruling.