All Ministers exonerated as Chogm debate ends

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In short
Chogm debate at parliament ends as four other ministers are exonerated. however questions of numbers needed to vote bring concern as the rule of procedure is violated.More than 500 billion shillings was used for the 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting.

Parliament has this evening exonerated the last four Ministers implicated by the Chogm Report presented by the watchdog committee of Public Accounts Committee. Agriculture Minister, Hope Mwesigye, Junior Tourism Minister, Rukundo Serapio, Isaac Musumba Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and junior Transport Minister John Byabagambi were all given a blanket exoneration by parliament. The exoneration brings the number of ministers walking scort free from the Chogm mess to 10.More than 500 billion shillings was spent in 2007 to facilitate the smooth running of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (Chogm). Last year, two ministers, Defence Minister Amama Mbabazi and Finance Minister Fred Omach, were the first to be let off the hook marking landmark precedence by parliament to exonerate the others. Another four government officials were cleared from any wrong doing two weeks ago. Minister for Foreign Affairs Sam Kutesa, Vice President Gilbert Bukenya, Transport Minister John Nasasira and Attorney General, Kiddu Makubuya were let go. But Contrary to the Rules of Procedure, today, the four ministers were exonerated by less than the number required to vote or pass a resolution. The rules provide that one-third of MPs have to participate in making decisions. The rules further stipulate that ex-official members of Parliament are not allowed to vote.For parliament to conduct any business one-third of legislators entitled to vote must be present. This number excludes the ex-official members. Opposition stood to its guns to walk out of the plenary session leaving only a handful of MPs to tussle it out. With the entire opposition Mps out of the Chambers only 57 out of 333 legislators were left for the debate. The speaker asked the question that would see all these ministers let off the hook without minding the numbers in the house. The Motion to exonerate the minister was moved by outgoing Rukungiri Woman MP, Winnie Matsiko who asked parliament to set free all the political leaders and the private companies mentioned in the report. She also moved to that other investigative arms and agencies of government be encouraged to continue carrying out investigations in the matter. Matsiko boastfully stated that NRM should be appreciated for hosting Chogm successfully. The motion was seconded by Sebunya Robert, MP Kyandondo South. Henry Banyenzaki, Rubanda MP was unhappy with the blanket exoneration of Chogm Ministers. He questions who will be held responsible if everyone including private companies were cleared. He says the IGG needs to investigate the private companies mentioned. //Cue in: this motion…. Cue out:….responsible.// Attorney General, Kiddu Makubuya congratulated the NRM for what he termed as smooth operation of the Chogm meeting. To him, there was value for money. He urged MPs to stop connoting that Chogm was synonymous corruption. Earlier, a motion moved on Tuesday by Wilfred Niwagaba, Ndorwa East Mp was defeated this evening. The motion asked parliament to rescind the decision to expunge the Vice president and other Ministers that have been exonerated by parliament. He wanted to all those implicated to prosecuted and those found guilty to be asked to refund tax payer's money. He says parliament has no mandate to overturn the report of the Auditor General. //Cue in: what I wanted….. Cue out: refund the money. // It was seconded by Rubanda East Mp Henry Banyenzaki and Theodore Ssekikubo of Lwemiyaga County. The three MPs wanted the House to cancel the decision made on the questions put by the speaker which have in turn had effects of reversing the findings and recommendations of the Auditor General's report. They also wanted Parliament to direct the executive arm of government to implement the findings and recommendations of the Auditor general and report on action taken every 6months. Niwagaba shortly after the motion was defeated told URN that he will engage the Civil Society Organisations on prosecution of all government officials. ###