Speaker Kadaga Speaks on the Suspended UPE, USE Probe

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In short
The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has defended the decision by the House to halt the commission of inquiry probing the mismanagement of funds in Universal Primary and Secondary Education progams.

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has defended the decision by the House to halt the commission of inquiry probing the mismanagement of funds in Universal Primary and Secondary Education progammes.

On Tuesday February 14th, parliament passed a resolution halting activities of the commission and also blocked further extension of its mandate. Parliament also resolved that government does not extend any additional funding to the commission and that any unspent money be frozen until investigations are complete. The MPs tasked the Parliamentary Committee on Social Services to investigate the operations of the commission.

Kadaga’s statement to the media follows a reported attack by President Yoweri Museveni in a recent NRM caucus meeting. The president reportedly attacked Kadaga for allowing MPs to stop the operation of the probe into the UPE and USE funds. The President complained that the halt was unfair considering the commissioners were not given a fair hearing. Education Minister Jessica Alupo did not take blame on this.

Kadaga now says that the resolution was unanimously supported by the executive and legislators from both sides of the House. Besides, Kadaga noted, the Speaker does not vote neither does she debate the issue at parliament.

Kadaga in her defense states that the decision by parliament was reached and agreed by the line minister, Jessica Alupo whose sentiments of helplessness and expression of unawareness of what was happening with the commission were considered.

The Education Minister had complained that her office had never received a single report from the commission showing its progress.

According to the Hansard, Education Minister Jessica Alupo applauded the House for joining the president in demanding for value for money.

The speaker maintained that the process to halt the inquiry was transparent.

Cue in: the resolution was .......
Cue out:.......value for money.//

Unlike other times when the speaker entertains questions, she declined to answer any on Monday and left immediately after her address.

The Commission of Inquiry was constituted by President Museveni in 2009 through legal notice No.14. The terms of reference included: to undertake an assessment of the capacity (human, technical and financial) of the central government and the districts with regard to supervision of construction projects of government at both central and district level.

The commission was to inquire into the unit cost and quality of construction of both primary and secondary schools’ facilities and to determine the extent to which civil works executed by the Central and local governments were shoddy and to make appropriate recommendations.

The third reference of the commission was to inquire into the effectiveness of the quality assurance system in place and to make recommendations regarding the improvement of the system.

The commission was also to review the laws, regulations guidelines and procedures relating to procurement to assess their impact on the attainment of value for money in the construction of school infrastructure and make recommendations.

Minister Alupo’s statement to parliament last week shows that the mandate of the committee has been extended four times since 2009 and has not concluded its work. In fact, in addition to the 6 billion shillings already used by the commission, it wants an additional funding amounting to 2 billion shillings in this year’s supplementary budget.

The commission is headed by Justice Ezekiel Muhanguzi who is deputised by Dr. Nassali Lukwago. Other members include Dr. Lawrence Mukiibi and Eng. Patrick Batumbya. Ketra Katunguka is the secretary and counsel to the commission.

NRM caucus is set to meet in Entebbe on Monday afternoon over the same matter.