KAMPALA – The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has revealed that the UGX24Bn meant for the construction the Isimba Dam bridge that would link Kayunga to Kamuli districts was swindled and calls to have those behind the theft prosecuted have been ignored.
Kadaga made the statement during Wednesday’s plenary sitting while reacting to a concern raised by James Waluswaka (Bunyole West) who tasked the Ministry of Education to explain the whereabouts of the funds arguing that failure to construct the bridge would cost National Resistance Movement victory in the 2021 general elections.
Waluswaka said, “The contract for Isimba dam was supposed to have a bridge to connect Kamuli to Kayunga and now I think what they call mafias have taken the money, the dam was commissioned, the bridge isn’t there. When they were testing the new dam, the water thrust from the dam, threw off the ferry up to very far and the engineers from UNRA said it was just luck that the ferry got stuck on the stone. I want the Minister of Energy and Minister of Works to tell us why the bridge hasn’t been constructed as per contract and where did the money go?”
Kadaga also confirmed having information about the matter and said despite forwarding the names of the culprits to President Yoweri Museveni in March 2019, no action has been taken.
She said, “By the way, at some stage Shs24Bn for that bridge had been eaten. I have been following that matter for several months, the money was eaten in the Ministry of Energy. I said I have been following this matter and told the President, I gave him the names of the eaters, I have been waiting for action since March.”
The Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa requested Parliament to first have the matter handled in cabinet, a proposal that was fiercely rejected by MPs.
Nankabirwa said, “I would like to propose that I table this concern from you and Parliament in cabinet on Monday and the person who chairs cabinet if the President because you have mentioned that you informed the President and I would like to inform the President that you informed him.”
Asuman Basalirwa (Bugiri Municipality) asked Nankabirwa, “If there is evidence that money was stolen, what will Cabinet do about it? these people should be arraigned before the Anti-Corruption court. This is a matter that Parliament should call upon DPP to intervene.”
Gilbert Olanya (Kilak South) protested having the matter handled in cabinet saying, “Let Parliament not accept that this matter be taken to cabinet. That is the best way of killing the matter. Let Parliament handle the matter.”
He was backed by Markson Oboth who weighed into the matter saying, “The whistleblower gave us that information the information could have been given to the PM, Chief Justice or DPP now that the person who gave you that information knows the legal mandate of this institution. Parliament should be doing its job.”
Although Opposition Chief Whip, Ssemujju Nganda welcomed having the culprits prosecuted, he called for the construction of the bridge as the main issue
“If action hasn’t been taken to date, my suggestion is we need to separate this matter, we need commitment as to when the bridge will be fixed and then we can pursue those who ate the money,” said Ssemujju.
Speaker asked for more time to make her ruling on the matter during the next plenary sitting.