Judiciary explains how it used 400m to construct the controversial toilets

CHIEF Justice Bart Katureebe has expressed his disappointment with the officials of the Auditor General’s (AG) office over-inflating and exaggerating audit queries related to the construction of toilets at the Entebbe Magistrates Court.

Katureebe said the audit queries had been inflated from the initial sh43.6m to sh436m and that he had raised his queries with AG John Muwanga over the matter. He also said he was shocked by comments from some sections of Members of Parliament who questioned the decision of the Judiciary to allocate sh13m for the construction of a flush toilet at his residence for his workers.

“I had a small toilet next to the house that was being used by the maid and sometimes all the guards attached to me. That one toilet was not enough,” Katureebe said. He noted that a decision was taken to construct a new toilet, which had a shower and a sink.

On Thursday, the Judiciary spokesperson, Solomon Muyita, took journalists for a tour at the Chief Justice’s residence and also the Entebbe Magistrates Court to see the new toilets that had been constructed. He noted during a press briefing in Entebbe that the construction expenditure used in Entebbe was shs43.6m and not sh436 as the AG had quoted.

He explained that they had received a query indicating unauthorized expenditure for the construction of the toilets and yet this had been planned for. Muyita said the contractual work for the construction of the toilet was carried out by Platinum Engineering Limited which had quoted sh43.6m inclusive of the taxes for the construction of new toilets.

He added that in the voucher records that they have, “Platinum was paid a net total of sh41.3 and the rest was spent on the taxes”. “We are wondering how the Auditor General got a figure of 436m and put it as a query for the Judiciary. It is a mistake introduced by them and a mistake that the Auditor General has to correct. We are unfairly being attacked,” Muyita said.

The Judiciary clerk of works in charge of the Central region, Eng. Catherine Amodoi, told our reporter that in August 2017, they got a letter from the resident district commissioner (RDC) complaining that the environment at Entebbe court was embarrassing and judicial officers were polluting the environment after they decided to use the nearby bush. The engineering department decided to build toilets.

“We have bills of quantities that we came up with, we documented everything, we went through the procurement process and acquired the contractor who did this work,” she added.

The chief magistrate in Entebbe, Mary Babirye, said when she was posted to the area in September last year, the new toilets were a huge relief to the growing numbers of people who were being served by the court.

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Patrick Luwagga is the editorial director of cross-platform content for UGANDANZ. He works across the newsroom and with business partners to drive and develop ambitious editorial projects that include digital journalism, video, data research, polling, live events, and thought-leadership series that are supported by outside underwriting. As executive director, he is responsible for the creation of Political news section, prior to joining UGANDANZ, Patrick was the chief editor for the national weekly news magazine of Kasese Times. In that role, he covered several presidential elections, wrote and produced two television documentaries, and was a regular commentator on television and radio news programs. Patrick was born in Masaka and grew up in Kasese. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Makerere University where he was a Knight Foundation journalism fellow.