Sports federations must account for funds - PAC

The Public Accounts Committee (Central Government) has urged the National Sports Council (NCS) to tighten accountability measures on sports federations to ensure compliance with the law.

This is after the NCS Board Chairperson, Ambrose Tashobya, told the committee on Monday, 15 May 2023, that some sports federations have adamantly refused to submit accountability reports to the council as required by the law.

NCS is required to coordinate all sports activities in the country including managing and approving expenditures of sports federations. Currently, there are 51 sports federations registered with NCS.

“It is our wish that all these federations receive and spend money in a manner which fits the law so that they can come back for more, but there is a high level of adamancy from some of the federations claiming we are overburdening them with accountability,” Tashobya said, citing Uganda Boxing Federation and Uganda Netball Federation as the major culprits.

Section 50 of the Public Finance Management Act, 2015 requires that accounting officers shall prepare and submit half-year financial statements to the Accountant General by 15 February of each financial year.

NCS General Secretary, Dr Bernard Patrick Ogwel, said their efforts to remind sports federations to submit their accountability reports have not been very fruitful and consequently, the council is considering withholding and reallocating funds meant for such defiant federations.

“It is not proper to give a federation more funds when it has failed to account for the funds in the previous financial year…However, we are doing everything possible to strengthen our collaboration with these federations,” Dr Ogwel said.

The committee advised the sports body to invoke their supervisory powers by raising the bar high on the operations of sports federations to enhance public accountability.

“As the supervising entity, you must come up with a strong position on accountability. You should continue to create an avenue for these federations to meet the minimum requirements so that the issue of accountability is not a question of pleading,” Hon. Fredrick Angura (NRM, Tororo County South) said.

To resolve the dilemma, the committee’s deputy chairperson, Hon. Asuman Basalirwa, advised that NCS signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the federations before disbursing funds.

However, he warned NCS against suffocating the activities of sports federations that have not submitted their accountability. He further proposed that the council bypasses such federations and deals directly with service providers for the continuity of the activities.

“Nobody should be disadvantaged because of the misdeeds of an individual or federation president. In the meantime, NCS should engage directly with the service provider,” Hon. Basalirwa said.

During the same meeting, the committee handed the President of Uganda Boxing Federation, Moses Muhangi and the former accountant, Lydia Namuleme, to the Parliament Police Criminal Investigations Department for further management on allegations of forgery, uttering false documents and misappropriation.

This comes barely a week after the President of Uganda Netball Federation, Sarah Kityo was interrogated by the Police CID on recommendations of the committee. Since then, Kityo is said to have stepped down to pave the way for investigations.