The Parliament of Uganda has distanced itself from claims that all 529 MPs had received a payout of 40M shillings each, as a measure to supplement their income while the country battles a tough economic situation.
On 14th June 2022, National Unity Platform (NUP) political party issued a statement alleging that all MPs including some who subscribe to NUP had been paid 40million shillings from parliament, with some members receiving the money from Speaker Anita Among’s home.
In a statement issued today, the Director Communications and Public Affairs Chris Obore disputed the NUP claims of a payout, calling it “a deliberate, persistent smear campaign” against the leadership of parliament.
Obore says that any payment to MPs is charged on the consolidated account and remitted to an individual MPs Bank account, disputing the claim that money was being dished out in cash.
Obore also notes that if indeed there has been any such payment by parliament outside the known procedures as NUP claims, it would instead have been right for the party to interest the accountability committees chaired by members of the opposition.
National Unity Platform is the largest opposition party in parliament, and by the virtue of that, has representatives on the Parliamentary Commission which is the legislatures’ decision making organ.” Chris Obore notes in the statement.
As leaders, Obore says, the MPs who NUP claims received the money are duty-bound under Section 10 of the Penal Code 2002 to declare the money to the IGG for proper investigation.
“Short of the above, the statement is an effort to tarnish the institution of parliament, where ironically, NUP has representation at highest decision making organs -the Committees and Commission” he said.
Mr Obore stated that the image of parliament should not be sacrificed at the altar of internal party intrigues because parliament belongs to all citizens not an individual political party.
In the June 14 statement, NUP claims that some of their MPs were told the cash was a token of appreciation while others were told the money was meant to supplement their income in the tough economic times the country is undergoing.
“It should have been obvious to everyone that the cash was both illegal and immoral given that it was being given out without any explanation about its source and purpose. Some members were being told to go with Bodabodas or cars not belonging to them in order to disguise themselves”
According to the same statement, a NUP caucus meeting resolved and directed the MPs who had received the money to immediately return it to where they picked it from.
It is however not the first time to hear claims that MPs in Uganda had received money through dubious deals only later to turn out that it is true. The more recent case was in April 2020, when MPs were allegedly offered 20 million Ugandan shillings each (nearly €5000 euros) to allegedly complement government efforts to fight assist the coronavirus pandemic, and it turned out to be true.