High court stays hearing of the 10bn shs MPs case pending Constitutional court ruling

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MPs Gerald Karuhanga and Jonathan Odur; File Photo

The High court in Kampala has stayed hearing of the case in which MPs Gerald Karuhanga and Jonathan Odur wanted the High court to quash the procedure that led to the allocation of the 10 billion Shillings to MPs to fight the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

The petition that is pending before the Constitutional Court was filed by two concerned citizens Prosper Busingye and Grace Tushemeriwe. They are seeking a declaration that the process leading to the allocation of 10 billion shillings to the MPs was illegal and in violation of the parliamentary rules of procedure as well as the constitution.

Justice Micheal Elubu concurred with the Attorney General that there is a pending Constitutional Petition filed by a one Prosper Busingye against the AG and Parliamentary Commission challenging the same procedure leading to the allocation of the said funds.

The Judge noted that in order to avoid any inconsistency in decisions it would appear most prudent to await the outcome of the Constitutional petition before determining the MPs application.

The Judge also dismissed two preliminary points of Law against the Parliamentary Commission which indicated that the High court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the MPs application; and that at the time of hearing; the matters under dispute had been resolved.

However Justice Elubu ruled that since the authentic expression of Parliament was flouted after the Budget Committee skipped sitting to review any amendments proposed, the validity of the amendments is questionable and can therefore be inquired into by the High Court.

The Judge also observed that there is a live and actual controversy between the parties for the Courts to determine, especially whether the Parliamentary rules of procedure were flouted.

Its against this background that Justice Elubu directed that the case in the High court be stayed pending the outcome of the Constitutional petition and further ordered that the Parliamentary Commission pays costs to the MPs for the dismissal of both preliminary points.

Dr Mushabe Alex Karocho the High court’s Assistant Registrar read the ruling on behalf of the Judge.

The funds in question (10 billion) was part of the Shillings 304 billion Supplementary Budget that was approved by parliament on April 4th, 2020 to allegedly facilitate legislators in the fight against COVID-19.

From this allocation, each MP was given 20 million shillings but the money was later recalled following a High Court order.

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