Attorney General Warns Parliament On Karuma, Isimba Probe

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In short
Attorney General, William Byaruhanga, wrote to Energy Minister Irene Muloni saying the select committees work will directly hamper the court case. He advised against any parallel investigations contrary to the matters pending in court.

The work of a select committee instituted by Parliament to investigate construction works at Karuma and Isimba hydropower dams hangs in the balance.

This follows legal advice from the Attorney General, William Byaruhanga, warning that any investigation into the two projects will be subjudice, given that the matter is in court.
Parliament set up a select committee, yet to be constituted, to investigate concerns over concrete cracks, improper installation of water stops and abrupt irregularities on concrete surface at the two dam sites.
But in May 2016, Henry Kyalimpa filed a suit in the High Court, civil division, calling for an independent engineering and value-for-money audit to determine the quality of works, progress and viability for both Karuma and Isimba  dam. He also wants court to call for a halt of the projects.

The Attorney General, who addressed the letter to the Minister of Energy, Irene Muloni, says the select committee's work will directly hamper the court case. He advised against any parallel investigations contrary to the matters pending in court.
"A member shall not refer to any particular matter which is subjudice. A matter shall be considered subjudice if it refers to active criminal or civil proceedings and in the opinion of the Speaker, the discussion of such a matter is likely to prejudice its fair determination," Byaruhanga says in the letter.
The letter, which was read in a meeting between the Natural Resources Committee members and Muloni, sparked debate, with MPs Alex Byarugaba and Thomas Tayebwa wondering whether Byaruhanga's opinion wouldn't derail the oversight role of the committee.
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Susan Katono, Principal Legislative Counsel attached to the committee, advised the committee to ask Speaker Rebecca Kadaga to give an opinion on Rule 64  of the rules of procedure regarding subjudice and how to handle the matter, including the select committee's work.
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Kabagambe Kaliisa, permanent secretary, Energy Ministry also declined to give information on the two dam projects, stating that he would be violating the subjudice rule.
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Meanwhile the committee meeting with Aqua World Uganda Limited, owned by Pastor Samuel Kakande, flopped after the pastor and his legal team did not turn up.
Kakande's company is implicated in illegal sand mining activities in Lwera wetland in Kalungu district.


About the author

Olive Eyotaru
Olive Eyotaru is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Eyotaru has been a URN staff member since February 2015.

Eyotaru started practising journalism while still studying at Uganda Christian University. She was a reporter with Ultimate Media Consult Ltd between 2005 and 2007.

In 2009, Eyotaru joined Monitor Publications Limited, under KFM Radio as a parliamentary and business reporter. Consequently, Eyotaru started writing for the Daily Monitor newspaper until January 2015, when she moved to URN.

She is interested in reporting about politics, health, human rights, business and sports.