A majority vote in parliament has exonerated cabinet ministers Amama Mbabazi and Ezra Suruma of any wrongdoing in the controversial 11 billion shillings NSSF-Temangalo deal.
A committee of parliament found that Security Minister Amama Mbabazi and Finance Minister Ezra Suruma were personally involved in the inflated purchase of land in Temangalo in Wakiso district by the National Social Security Fund. However in a heated debate yesterday, a majority vote in parliament cleared the two ministers of any wrongdoing.
Investigations by the parliamentary commissions, statutory and state enterprises committee, Mbabazi was aware of the sale of his land in Temangalo at a price significantly higher than the market value. Suruma allegedly used his position as Finance Minister to influence the purchase of the land.
However earlier this week, the parliamentary caucus of the ruling party, the National Resistance Movement, resolved to oppose any motion to censure the two minister or to force them to resign. The NRM caucus, which has an overwhelming majority in the house, also exonerated the two ministers.
Aware that the odds were against them, some dissenting NRM MPs and the opposition in parliament put up a strong fight to ensure that the report of the investigating committee would hold sway. However after the Attorney General, Khiddu Makubuya, made a statement suggesting that a parliamentary committee could not punish cabinet ministers based on their alleged flaunting of the Leadership Code Act, the opposition MPs stormed out of the House.
Accusations against Mbabazi and Suruma like influence peddling and abuse of office are central to the Leadership Code Act. Makubuya, in his statement, said that although the parliamentary committee had acted in good faith, it had no legal mandate to make conclusions based on the clause.
In a news conference held outside parliament shortly after the walkout of the opposition MPs, Aswa County Member of Parliament Reagan Okumu accused of thuggery support for corruption. He challenged Ugandans to decide who was guilty in the NSSF deal when they vote for national leaders in the 2011 elections.
//Cue in: iYou know this is real thuggery #i
Cue out: i#it's going to be the big issue.i//
Inside the House, two NRM MPs who supported the plans to discipline Amama Mbabazi and Ezra Suruma had their attempt shot down. The MPs