KAMPALA – Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has announced a set of new guidelines that MPs must follow while utilising the Shs20M that has been given to them to fight Coronavirus in their districts, after rejecting Attorney General’s advice who said that it’s illegal to use money when Court has ordered otherwise.
In her Communication during Thursday’s plenary sitting, Speaker revealed that Parliamentary Commission on April 17, 2020, disbursed to each MP funds to enable them carry out oversight of Government programs.
Speaker said, “MPs will spend funds only on those intervention of COVID19 in the districts. Needs of districts aren’t homogenous and each district will determine it’s needs. Accountability shall be made to the Accounting Officer of Parliament and copied to the Chief Administrative Officer.”
She said that the Parliamentary Commission also ordered MPs to adhere strictly to the Government guidelines and shall not personally get involved in distrubution of food and materials, “MPs shall not organise meetings in breach of national guidelines.”
During Wednesday’s plenary, Kadaga requested the Attorney General William Byaruhanga to guide Parliament on how to implement a court order stopping the disbursement of Shsh10b allocated to the legislature through the parliamentary commission, until High Court disposes of a case filed seeking to bar Parliament move to spend money.
Byaruhanga has told the House that the interim court order was binding to the individual members of parliament hence spending the money tantamounts to contempt of court.
However, Kadaga rejected the legal advise describing it as interference of the work of parliament by the Judiciary, which is against the democratic principle of separation of powers between the three arms of government; Judiciary and the Executive.
“We look at this as an attempt to suffocate the work of Parliament, to deminish powers of Parliament. I want to warn the Banks not to interfere with MPs accounts. You will be sued. The MPs you’re disturbing have no judgement against them, so what’s the stupidity anyway,” she Kadaga.
She accused the Attorney General of bias, saying his conduct has left Parliament questioning his role in Parliament because there incidences the Attorney General has abandoned Parliament in the cold.