The civil division of the High Court in Kampala has ordered parliament to halt the distribution of shs10 billion that was supposed to be given to MPs to help fight the deadly coronavirus.
While appropriating money in the shs304 billion supplementary budget to different sectors involved in the fight against the deadly coronavirus pandemic, Shs10 billion was allocated to Parliament, raising questions in the public.
Parliament recently passed the supplementary budget and each MP is supposed to get shs20 million.
However, Justice Esta Nambaya has on Tuesday ordered that parliament halts distribution of the money to legislators until a case challenging the same is disposed of.
“It is hereby ordered that until the hearing and determination of miscellaneous application no 179 of 2020 , the status quo be maintained i.e the monies in the sum of shs10 billion appropriated to the Parliament under the impugned amendment to the report of the budget committee in supplementary expenditure remain undistributed until the determination of the matter,” Justice Nambayo said in her ruling on Tuesday afternoon.
On Monday, Ntungamo Municipality MP, Gerald Karuhanga and Erute South legislator Jonathan Odur petitioned the court seeking to halt the Parliamentary Commission from paying Shs 10 billion to MPs to fight Covid-19.
The petitioners argue that Parliament breached the parliamentary rules of procedure in passing the Shs 10 billion that is to be dished out to the legislators.
They say the money was just smuggled into the report by the budget committee chairperson Amos Lugoloobi without the consent of the committee members.
The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga ordered Members of Parliament to stop commenting on the controversial shs20 billion given to them to combat the deadly coronavirus.
“I want to appeal to the honorable members of the house that the issue of the shs10 billion is an issue of the Parliamentary Commission. Members should not continue talking about it because you don’t know about it,”Kadaga told legislators on Thursday when the August House sat.
She however defended the decision to give MPs money to help in the fight against the deadly Coronavirus pandemic.
“The Members were getting calls for expenses on fuel and it had now become a burden to the MPs. They came here saying ‘find us some money from Parliamentary budget,” Kadaga said while appearing on NBS Television’s Morning Breeze.
She noted that part of the shs10 billion will be used to maintain the ambulances contributed by Parliament and individual MPs, provide fuel and pay allowances for the drivers of the ambulances already released by MPs to help the Covid-19 taskforces at district level.
The public has since blasted Members of Parliament for exhibiting greed when they accepted the money .
“This is a very huge scandal that parliament should reconsider giving themselves that kind of money. The crisis we are involved in is one where everyone is making huge sacrifices, many people already find it very difficult to survive and yet there is not much available,opposition strongman, Dr.Kizza Besigye said last week.
“MPs are some of the most highly paid people in Uganda, they should instead be contributing something to the task force.”