By HOMELAND MEDIA TEAM
Early yesterday, 13th December 2022, the Select Committee of Parliament probing the National Council of Sports paid a visit to the Uganda Netball Federation office. Here, at Aga Khan Building, Old Kampala, they continue to investigate the Sports body’s misappropriation of government funds meant for sports.
“They paid a visit and they received what they wanted and thanked the federation for cooperating with them as well as promoting the sport in Uganda,” Read the Netball message. A Parliamentary Select committee is investigating the operations of the National Council of Sports following inconsistencies in statements regarding the release of funds to the sub-sector.
Hon. Laura Kanushu (NRM, PWD), chairs the committee that also has Hon. Solomon Silwanyi (NRM, Bukooli County Central), Hon. Geoffrey Kayemba (NUP, Bukomansimbi South County), Hon. Iddi Isabirye (NRM, Bunya County South), Hon. Donald Katalihwa (NRM, Mwenge County South), Hon. Agnes Achibu (NRM, Nebbi district), and Hon. Margaret Makhoha (Ind. Namayingo district).
The committee was named by the Speaker, Anita Among after a motion was moved by Hon. Asuman Basaalirwa during the plenary sitting on Thursday, 10th November 2022. The National Council of Sports was allocated Shs47.81 billion for 51 federations across the country for the Financial Year 2022/2023. On Wednesday, 09th November 2022, the Minister of State Finance, Planning and Economic Development (Privatization), Evelyn Anite and Minister of State for Sports, Peter Ogwang gave contradictory statements on the release of funds to the sports federations for the first and second quarters.
Anite said that Shs19.2 billion was released for the first quarter while Ogwang said that Shs27 billion was released for the first and second quarter. Hon. Moses Magogo (NRM, Budiope County East), also the President of the Federation of Uganda Football Association, however, said that sports federations had not received any funds for the two quarters. This prompted the Speaker to call for a harmonization meeting on Thursday 10th November 2022 between the two ministers, the shadow ministers of Education and Sports and Finance and Magogo.
Anite on 10th November 2022, then said that it was ascertained that the money released to the federations is Shs17.1 billion. “We did observe variation in figures and we have tried to reconcile,” Anite said. This prompted Basaalirwa to move a motion for Parliament to create a Select Committee, saying that the inconsistencies in the ministers’ statements reveal that there is something wrong with the National Council of Sports and the Ministry of Finance.
The Speaker said that Parliament will not allocate more funds to the National Council of Sports until the operations and management of funds of the sub-sector are resolved. “We want to know where the money we give you goes and after we have done that, then we can give you more money. You need to check on the governance issues because now there is suspicion that there is fraud,” said Among. What next? Uganda withdraws from CHAN finals. As the said investigations continue, the appropriation of funds has already started biting the sports sun sector with the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) pulling out of the Continental football competitions.
Uganda Cranes have pulled out of the upcoming Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) Finals due to financial difficulties, according to FUFA President Eng. Moses Magogo. In his tweet to confirm the saddening information, Magogo expressed regret to the team’s qualified players and staff. This comes just months of Uganda’s U23 team also pulling out of the final qualification rounds due to similar circumstances.
“We are left with no further option but to withdraw the Uganda Cranes from CHAN finals because Ministry of Finance has not provided the funds as appropriated by Parliament,” read part of the tweet. He added, “The sanctions to Uganda will affect the future if we don’t take the hard decision now. Sorry for the players and coaches who qualified the team but it is the moment to face the reality.”
Uganda Cranes qualified for the 2022 CHAN finals in Algeria after defeating Tanzania 4-0 on aggregate. They were scheduled to begin their tournament preparations on December 21st. The 2023 CHAN tournament is set to kick off on January 13th in Algeria. The Uganda Cranes are in Group B with DR Congo, Ivory Coast, and Senegal. The CHAN is a competition for the national team players based in their own respective domestic leagues.