KAMPALA–A section of Opposition MPs have returned the money that was availed to them to aid their consultations on the age limit bill.
Parliament has confirmed the expenditure of Shs29m per MP which money was posted onto the legislators bank accounts this week. The total disbursement amounts to Shs13bn.
The MPs who addressed the press today claim the money is a bribe from President Museveni to legitimize his so called life presidency project.
“How will history judge this parliament, and we can’t set a precedent that you can pick one item and then you bribe MPs pretending that you are giving them money for consultations,” stated Opposition whip Semujju Nganda.
The MPs present were Moses Kasibante, Medard Segonna, Angeline Osegge, William Nzoghu, Betty Aol Ochan, Anna Adeke Ebajju and Muwanga Kivumbi.
Five of them displayed wads of cash which they confirmed was the Shs29m each of them received from Parliament.
The MPs were led by the Opposition whip Semujju Nganda who admonished parliamentary authorities for diversion of funds from various items in the budget to facilitate the age limit bill consultations.
He noted that they will return the money back to the items for which it was appropriated.
MPs are expected to kick start their two week consultations today on the constitutional amendment No.2 Bill that was tabled by Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi, the bill seeks to eliminate clause 102(b) that places an upper age cap of 75 years on presidential aspirants.
The opposition whip notes he is going to write to the Auditor General and the IGG and ask them to kick start investigations into the source of the funds.
Semujju observed with concern the haste with which the money was allocated while several sectors of the economy remain critically underfunded.
He argued that such an expenditure on private member bills such as Magyezi’s should be discouraged noting that if several private members presented separate bills to parliament the cost would cripple the country.
“The one for Magyezi is about 4 pages, if for Magyezi’s bill we are going to spend Shs13b what about bills that are big whose volume they are nearly 200 pages maybe they are going to give us a billion shillings each.”
“People are just trying to be smart but they know this is a bribe, the same bribe like what Museveni gave MPs in 2005 ……. This time he wants to be smarter by doing the same thing,” he added.
The Butambala county MP Muwanga Kivumbi noted that the rationale under which the money was computed is questionable since MPs are facilitated according to distances they cover whole travelling to their constituencies.
He adds that the diversion of funds from parliamentary activities was done illegally since it requires consent from the affected departments.
“If you are going to do a virement it must be 10% from each budgeted activity but then you must get written consent from every department …… so even the clerk must know that she won’t walk away.” Kivumbi bellowed.
Medard Segona the Busiro East MP was quick to rebuke the president stating that if Museveni wanted to push through his life presidency project he could do it by use of force but should desist from using MPs to facilitate his goal.
“Because one man wants to subdue the nation, the economy must bleed, Ugandans must bleed,” he remarked.
The Soroti woman MP Angeline Osegge stated that using parliament to pay MPs was an attempt to sanitize the process of bribing MPs because the motive behind the move is a wicked one.
“It is an attempt to make it look clean but behind it is wickedness, behind it is theft, this is cursed money it’s as good as blood money,” she proclaimed.
The MPs walked to the parliamentary accountant in charge of the consolidated fund in Parliament and deposited the cash in his office.
Semujju said the process was still ongoing with plenty more MPs set to return their share of the age limit cash.