KAMPALA: The accountability conflict between National Council of Sports – NCS and Uganda Netball Federation – UNF seem to have taken a new twist after the Auditor General’s office demanded for fresh evidence to back-up documents before parliament.
The encounter pits NCS’ General Secretary – Dr Patrick Bernard Ogwel on one side and embattled UNF president, Sarah Babirye Kityo on the other – especially in respect of accountability as accusations and counter-accusations continue to fly.
The battle between the two sporting administrators stems from the factor that in 2021 – UNF tabled a budget of Ugx425m for The She Cranes’ participation in the Pent Series as well as the African Championships in Windhoek, Namibia. NCS – the country’s sports regulatory body responded with air tickets valued at Ugx127m to cater for a contingent of 27 people as well as an additional Ugx186m in cash.
And of the Ugx186m disbursed, Ugx139.3m was reportedly spent on the accommodation of the 27-members, while Ugx9.6m went for visa fees, Ugx6.7m for Covid-19 tests, Ugx1.7m for medical tests, Ugx5.3m for participation fees, Ugx13.5m for players’ allowances and Ugx10m for team kits.
Netball Namibia president Rebecca Goagoses, recently said; they had “informed Uganda’s NCS that we only paid accommodation for the Pent Series.”
However, Babirye who was recently forced out of office to pave way for investigations claim that she was surprised when Dr Ogwel demanded for an accountability of Ugx425m instead of Ugx186m. Both parties have since remained adamant – sticking to their respective sides of the stories – drawing the attention of various arms of government including the formulation of an Adhoc Committee that investigated the matter, in addition to the office of Inspector General of Government, Auditor General, Attorney General and Parliament Accounts Committee.
A source at NCS revealed that NCS had assigned someone to travel to Namibia to specifically assemble fresh evidence that could pin Babirye before the Auditor General, Attorney general and IGG as well as well parliament.
“As I speak, National Council has Ms Cecilia Anyakoit to travel to Namibia to gather information -because they have to respond to the Auditor General’s queries but have nothing to offer,” said our source.
The Auditor General demands are contained in a communication to NCS dated June 12, which Joseph Hirya endorsed.
“The office of Auditor General, acting upon the request of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament of Uganda is undertaking verification of accountabilities submitted by the Uganda Netball Federation for the expenses incurred during the Pent Series Tournament, 2021…,” reads the letter in parts – forcing Dr Ogwel to swiftly respond a day letter – writing to the Namibian netball governing body.
In early May – the Public Accounts Committee of parliament, while probing the NCS, discovered loopholes in the accountability of Ugx100m allocated to UNF in the 2021/2022 financial year for the International Male Netball Championship in South Africa. The money was meant to facilitate the preparation of Ugandan men’s netball team – The Rock, to participate in the championship in South Africa in September 2021.
The discovery led the committee to hand over Babirye, Richard Muhumuza – formerly UNF vice president and Aidah Nambusi – formerly UNF treasurer to the Parliament Police Criminal Investigation Department for further management.
Both Muhumuza and Nambusi pointed fingers at their boss – who they separately accused of allegedly diverting a huge chunk of the money for her personal use at the expense of the planned activities.