The Inspector General of Government Beti Kamya has said her office will take interest in allegations of impropriety in the budget drawn for the former speaker Late Jacob Oulanyah’s burial.
This follows public rage after the National Organizing Committee (NOC) for Oulanyah’s burial drew a budget of UGX2.1BN attracting criticism from members of the public both on social media and mainstream media.
The backlash on Tuesday forced the organizers to revise the budget downwards from the original 2.4BN to 1.8BN with the State Minister for Finance in-charge of General Duties Henry Musasizi saying all the expenditures that can be done away with had been removed.
However, IGG Beti Kamya on Wednesday said Oulanyah’s spirit must be horrified by the obscene cash bonanza in his funeral expenses and her office will honor the Late Oulanyah by taking interest in the matter as alleged.
“The Spirit of the departed @JacobOulanyah must be horrified by the obscene cash bonanza in his #funeral expenses, he’d not allow it if he had a choice.” Kamya posted on Twitter.
“The @IGGUganda will honor him by taking interest in allegations of impropriety in his funeral #expenses.” She added in a post alongside a document showing the breakdown of the budget.
In the original budget whose figures were widely shared on social media as well as newspapers, the expenditure on burial day alone was set at 1.1BN, A-Plus funeral services at 226million, Acholi Parliamentary Group at 313million, Finance Committee at 248million, Security 158million and Fuel at 124million.
On Tuesday, Hon Babirye Milly Babalanda, the chairperson for the National Organizing Committee defended the original budget saying the issue shouldn’t be the figure but Oulanyah’s status.
“Regarding the budget for burying Rt Hon Oulanyah, what matters is not the figures but the activities involved and the status of the deceased..” Babalanda said.
Oulanyah’s body is expected to arrive into the country from Seattle Washington US on Friday, where he had sought specialized treatment. It is however rumored that the Late speaker who has been eulogized as an honest man had protested the move to spend billions of money abroad for his treatment.
Before Oulayah’s death, government was on spot for close to 2BN shillings spent on his evacuation to US with a section of Ugandans in the Diaspora protesting the move on account that the evacuation was a consequence of neglect for the country’s healthcare system.
Oulanyah is the first speaker of parliament to die in office and the country together with it’s legal regime is experiencing the incident for the first time. According to the Parliamentary Pensions Act, Oulanyah deserves a state funeral with full honors befitting his status, and government must declare a period for national mourning.
Part D(2) of the law however limits funeral expenses for a speaker at only 30 percent of the gross annual salary, and an official statement made in media about the death of the speaker. He will be buried on Friday next week at his ancestral home in Omoro District.