The tenure of the team investigating the alleged mismanagement of free education funds has for the third time expired before completing its assigned work.
President Museveni commissioned the probe on December 11, 2009 after reports that government was losing billions of shillings to corrupt officials since the Universal Primary Education programme started in 1997.
The five-man team headed by Justice Ezekiel Muhanguzi had six months to investigate and hand in a report to the appointing authority. This, however, was not possible. The President, on the commission’s request, extended their term twice which, too, expired on June 13.
But in his state of address, President Museveni said: “The Commission of Inquiry on the mismanagement of UPE/USE funds started its work in January, 2011.”
However, in an interview, Mr Muhanguzi said although their term has been extended twice, there was still more work to do, including public hearings which have not started. He, however, could not specify when they are expected to start.
“We still have work we are supposed to do but have not started. We intend to hold public hearings in which we shall deal with specific allegations, complaints and accusations,” Mr Muhanguzi said.
He added: “Extensions have no end. What matters is seeing the work done. Our term has been extended twice. We will ask for more time as long as we still have work to do. And until the appointing authority feels what we have done is enough, he will stop the commission.”
Earlier, the commission counsel, Ms Ketrah Katunguka, reported that they need more than Shs3 billion to complete work after the President extended the term for a year.
“We need to do much more than we thought. We had thought the vehicles we asked for would be enough in that short time, but now there are many schools and districts and we have field staff who need more vehicles to go and verify data,” Ms Katunguka said.
The commission is investigating the process of disbursing education funds to districts and schools, including how funds meant for the construction of schools are spent.
Mr Muhanguzi said although there have been changes in the cost of commodities they are using, they are still depending on Shs4 billion earlier allocated.
“There are many changes that keep coming up. The work we envisaged to do does not keep constant. The cost of whatever we use like fuel doesn’t keep constant. There are some delays in the course of doing our work and this costs money. We are using the Shs4 billion. We need more. If it is finished we shall stop work but we hope money will be released,” he said.