KAMPALA – Financial statements for Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort Limited (MCWRL), a partially government owned Victoria lakeside retreat, have not been audited for the last four years, Uganda Development Corporation (UDC) has said.
The government through UDC holds 25 percent shares or 15,061,309,120 shares out of the 60,244,836,480 paid-up shares in Munyonyo Resort.
UDC Executive Director, Dr Patrick Birungi, told the Committee on Trade, Tourism and Industry that Munyonyo Resort has no audited financial statements for the period 2019 to 2022, following delayed appointment of government representatives to the Board.
Birungi was appearing before the Committee on Trade, Tourism and Industry that is inquiring into the status of government investment in Munyonyo Resort, on Thursday, 19 October 2023.
“There haven’t been audited financial statements since 2019 to 2022 and the main reason being that apart from Covid-19 which was more challenging, the quorum for both the Board and Annual General Meeting required that there is a government representative and at that time, most of the government officials were not in those positions that they held and therefore they weren’t in those meetings and therefore, we couldn’t to get those audited accounts,” Birungi said.
The committee that was chaired by Charles Okello (DP, Nwoya East County) could not proceed with the probe after Birungi asked for more time to allow external auditors to complete the ongoing financial audits.
“The financial statements for the period 2019 to 2022 are currently being audited following the appointment of auditors on 19 July 2023…If the committee can give us two months [to get the audited financial statements] then we can have a better engagement,” he said, adding that audits are being done by external auditors-UHY Thakkar & Associates.
He said UDC has since nominated Betty Katsimbazi and Stephen Mwanje as new directors of MCWRL while Andrew Rugasira and Basil Ajer were nominated as alternate directors.
Samia Bugwe County South Member of Parliament, Hon. Godfrey Odero urged UDC to also submit audited financial statements for all the previous years from the time the government started investing in Munyonyo.
“We have not been in position to get those other financial statements. As you hand in those statements for the last four years, you should also hand in those from the time the contract was signed,” he said.
The Committee Deputy Chairperson, Hon. Catherine Lamwaka, underscored the importance of having the audited financial statements in order to inform the committee’s decision.
“Our feasibility assessment of the performance of Munyonyo Resort is reliant on those financial statements. So let us give UDC time to finalise the audits and they should immediately notify the committee so that we can assess whether government should continue investing in Munyonyo or not,” Lamwaka said.
The Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development was the shareholder of government shares in Munyonyo Resort until 2022 when the ownership was transferred to UDC in compliance with the UDC Act, 2016.