Kadaga defies Court on 10BN COVID funds, tells MPs to account to parliament in 14 Days

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Speaker Rebecca Kadaga speaking during a press conference recently; File Photo

The Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon Rebecca Kadaga has given MPs who spent the controversial 20M COVID-19 funds, 14 days to submit accountability for the money to parliament despite Court ruling directing MPs to refund the money.

In a letter dated May 12th, the Clerk to parliament Ms Jane Kibirige directed MPs, who by 5th May had utilized the 20M advanced to each legislator as facilitation during the fight against COVId-19, to furnish her office with the accountability for funds as soon as possible.

Kibirige says the decision was taken by the Parliamentary Commission in a meeting held on 11th May to discuss the matter, and directs MPs to submit their accountability reports for 20M not later than 27th May.

Speaker Kadaga, who chairs the Parliamentary Commission, maintains her earlier position to have MPs spend the money despite a High Court ruling on 29th April ordering all MPs who benefited from the Shs 10 billion allocation to either refund it or hand it over to the National or District COVID-19 task forces.

The letter however directs MPs who had not utilized the funds advanced to them by 5th May, to pay the funds to the District COVID-19 Task Forces through CAO’s.

Members of parliament representing Special Interest Groups were however given a second option to return funds to the Parliamentary Commission.

The Court ruling followed an application filed by the Ntungamo municipality MP Gerald Karuhanga and Erute South MP Jonathan Odur contesting the manner in which parliament silently allocated itself 10BN to facilitate legislators in activities to fight coronavirus in their respective constituencies.

Karuhanga argued that citizens were most likely to suffer from irreparable damage if parliamentarians are not directed to return the monies to public accounts for proper usage.

Ever since, more than 130 legislators have handed the funds to the District COVID-19 Task-forces, while others returned it to the parliamentary commission.

Speaker Kadaga maintains that parliamentarians can go ahead and spend the money as long as they account for the funds an act that attracted public criticism and pitted the legislature against the executive.

President Yoweri Museveni also described the actions of the MPs who received the money as morally reprehensible; adding that they had entered into a trap because they were not purchasing agents of government.

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