Constitutional Court Sets Date for Hearing of Shs 20m case Against MP's

2203 Views Kampala, Uganda
The constitutional court has set 2nd May as the date for hearing the petition filed against Members of parliament who received shillings 20 million from government a few days to the elections allegedly to monitor government programs.
The petition was filed by Messrs Kaahwa, Kafuuzi, Bwiruka and Messrs Olweny and Tumusiime Company advocates on behalf of the Advocates coalition for Development, MP Beatrice Anywar and 3 others.

The civil society organization is suing the Attorney General and the Parliamentary commission. Details of the petition are that in January 2011, the Parliamentary Commission paid out shillings 6.5 billion of which a gross sum of 20 million shillings was passed on to each of the 314 MP’s to purportedly monitor unspecified Government programmes.
The petitioners argue that the transaction was done in breach of the law and trust bestowed upon the MPs by people of Uganda. This was accompanied by denials and counter denials of the source of the money, timing, accountability and value for money issues.

In his affidavit, Chris Kassami the Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development says that, the Clerk to Parliament wrote a letter to the Ministry of Finance requesting for a supplementary budget funding of 4.54 billion shillings to enable him pay members of Parliament allowances for purposes of monitoring government programmes.

Kassami states that the Ministry replied to the clerk informing him that due to the pressures being exerted on the budget at the time, it was not possible to issues a supplementary budget as requested.

But Eva Kabundu says that the shillings 6.54 bn paid to MP’s was paid out of the allowance account for MP’s. The account had already been approved in the 2010/11 budgetary expenditure.

She adds that the allowance account of Parliament had been lawfully passed and appropriated and therefore any allegation that this money has never been authorized by Parliament is false.

Kabundu cites Article 85 of the constitution which she says specifies routine periodic emoluments of MP’s but does not prohibit facilitating them to carry out other activities.

The Parliamentary commission in its affidavit denies the allegations and that the petitioners shall be forced to provide proof thereof.

The hearing of the case failed to kick off today after James Angulo representing the Parliamentary commission told the registrar Ajiji Francis that they were not served with the petition. They only learnt of it in the media on the 25th of March.

Angulo asked the registrar for two weeks within which they are to file their response. Ajiji ordered that they file their response by the 20th of April so that the case can come up for hearing on the 2nd of May.