ID Project Debate Halted for Lack of Quorum

1670 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
On Wednesday, Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah was forced to adjourn the house after he realized that there was no quorum to make a decision on the recommendations of the committee on defense and internal affairs.

Parliament has pushed the ongoing debate on the national Identity Card project to Thursday after failing to raise quorum to take decisions.
 
On Wednesday, Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah was forced to adjourn the house after he realized that there was no quorum to make a decision on the recommendations of the committee on defense and internal affairs.

The House had already adopted three recommendations of the committee. These included a requirement that procurement of classified supply of both goods and services should always, without exception, adhere to the procurement law.

Parliament also agreed that in future procurements proper due diligence should be conducted prior to the bidding process and that approval of contracts should be based on technical and financial competitiveness as per the procurement law.

But when the MPs moved to recommendation four that required former internal affairs minister Kirunda Kivejinja to take full responsibility, the house was undecided. Cabinet through the current internal affairs minister Hilary Onek raised objections. Onek wanted to have a competent authority like the Inspector General of Government investigate Kivejinja. Onek wanted the investigating body to establish whether the procurement law was broken on purpose.

It is at this time that Oyam South MP Betty Amongi pointed out that the quorum did not allow them to take a vote. The rules of procedure of parliament require that there must be at least two-thirds of members of parliament to vote on a particular issue.

The 40 page report pins Kirunda Kivejinja and the permanent secretary Stephen Kagoda, for violating procurement laws to sign a contract for the now stalled project.

The committee recommended that Kivejinja as the overall political head of the ID project take full political, financial, and administrative responsibility for the losses occasioned.

The committee observed that contrary to President Yoweri Museveni’s directive to have exhaustive due diligence, Minister Kivejinja did not follow the procurement law, the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets (PPDA) Act. There were no comparative prices obtained to support the competitiveness of Mühlbauer Technology Group, a German firm that was awarded the 200 billion-shilling project.
 
The meeting at State House in which Kivejinja claimed single-sourcing was cleared was merely to guide for classification and not to override the PPDA Act.

In March 2010, government contracted Mühlbauer to deliver 3.5 million IDs by December 2010 but has since made only 400 cards.

The matter returns in Parliament on Thursday.