KAMPALA – Jacob Oulanyah, Deputy Speaker of Parliament has directed the Parliamentary Committee on Gender, Labour and Social Development to probe allegations that money charged on Ugandans seeking employment ended up on personal accounts of some of the staff at the Ministry of Gender.
The Deputy Speaker’s decision to refer the matter to the Gender Committee was contrary to the prayers made by Mwine Mpaka (Youth Representative Western region) who was seeking for a select committee to investigate the matter.
Taking to the floor of Parliament to table his motion, Mwine revealed that the $70 charged on each migrant labour worker was being transferred on a personal account of Yasin Abdlatiff Musoke and that he was using the money to purchase suits, shoes and perfume yet the money is meant to monitor migrant workers in their new postings abroad.
Mpaka said that there is need for Parliament to institute an inquiry into the status of the Uganda Association of External Development Agencies Development Fund, the Fund that was set up in order to lift the ban external labour exportation on March 2017. This Fund is charged through labour export companies, so every Ugandans going abroad is supposed to pay $70.
Mwine said that he was shocked to discover that the money was being channeled to a labour liaison officer in Uganda’s embassy in Riyadh and put on his personal account saying that if each of the 185 registered companies takes 50 Ugandans abroad, and each Ugandan pays USD70, the money of the account is about Shs30bn per year.
It was further revealed that Musoke who was appointed to his post on 1st May 2018 earns a monthly salary of Shs6M and his contract entitles him to a gratuity every two years, an entitlement the MPs want to be investigated yet many public officials are languishing without their gratuity, despite serving the country for decades.
Mwine’s motion was supported by a number of MPs including Alex Ruhinda (Fort Portal Municipality) who backed the proposal to institute a select committee to investigate the matters arguing that there is a group of people personalizing public resources yet there is a public outcry of Ugandans u who have been suffering from abroad.
Nandala Mafabi (Budadiri West) wondered why the Minsitry of Gender isn’t taking charge of labour export and instead leaving it to the private sector.
He said, “Today I have confirmed there is money in the Ministry of Labour, I didn’t know. I thought it was a dry area. This money is from the poor girls and boys and when they go to these agencies, the agencies say we paid for you and you have to pay our money back. There are people selling their land to take their children abroad and the money is taken by this individual. Why can’t we say that the ministry of gender gets involved in export of labour than putting it in hands of private sector?”
Jinja East’s Paul Mwiru rubbished the argument fronted by Janat Mukwaya, Minister of Gender and Labour that Parliament had no jurisdiction investigating a private account belonging to Musoke saying the money belongs to the Government of Uganda.
He said, “To contextualize the debate Mpaka raised an important issue that public funds found in a private account and that becomes a public account by law.”
Raphael Magyezi (Igara West) lashed out at Minister Mukwaya’s proposal to ask for a supplementary budget to fund activities in her Ministry yet there is money she is fighting not to have Parliament investigate.
“To what extent should the ministry be held accountable to the suffering of our children as result of the negligence of the Ministry? The ministry is asking for supplementary yet she isn’t interested in the money collected at her ministry,” said Magyezi
In his ruling, Oulanyah revealed that as a member of Parliament Commission, he is aware of the fact that Parliament is short of funds to finance a select committee but instead asked MPs to allow the Gender Committee investigate the matter.
The Deputy Speaker said, “The debate has been intensive, in the end what will work is what will count not what sounds beautiful in our ears. I sit in Parliamentary Commission, we have some challenges and some of the committees haven’t been able to report. serious, we should handle it properly. We will not have resources in the meantime. We will not take a decision on this matter but referee the motion to the Committee of gender and come after seven days and brief us.”