Parliament has said that legislators have already shared the controversial shs10 billion meant to fight Coronavirus in their respective constituencies.
The Civil Division of the High Court on Tuesday ordered the Parliamentary Commission and the Attorney General to ensure the shs20 million each is not sent to the MPs’ accounts.
However, a communication from Jane Kibirige, the Clerk to Parliament, the money was paid to MPs on Friday, April 17.
“It has come to the knowledge of the Parliamentary Commission that some Members of Parliament wish to return the shs20 million paid to them last Friday, April, 17, 2020,” Kibirige’s letter to all MPs reads in part.
The Clerk to Parliament however has asked legislators willing to return the money to effect a bank transfer to the Parliamentary Commission bank account rather than refunding it in cash.
High Court judge, Esta Nambayo had on Tuesday also ordered that if Members of Parliament have already received the money, they should not spend it but rather wait for the court decision on the matter.
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, where each legislator is supposed to get shs20 million.
This has caused a public uproar against legislators who have since been labeled as being greedy.
President Museveni and his Foreign Affairs Minister, Sam Kutesa on Monday blasted parliament over the money.
“The president said such money was not sustainable and not for the general good. He instead thought there was a way such money could be used to benefit everybody than place it in the hands of MPs,” a source that attended the Monday cabinet meeting but preferred anonymity told the Nile Post.
He was supported by Kutesa who said it was not fair to the population and rebuked those who wanted to be party to using the money.
“Why are you taking money of poor Ugandans,” he wondered.
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 has gone on record to defend the money as one that help legislators in the fight against the deadly virus.
“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.
Though Parliament says the money will be used to mobilise and sensitize members of the public against the deadly Covid-19, this looks untenable because government banned social gatherings to avoid the spread of the virus.
Kadaga recently said in defence of the legislators that they had recorded advocacy messages to sensitize the public.
“For a start the members of parliament have recorded advocacy messages in English and the local language of each MP. l hope you have listened to the broadcasts,”Kadaga tweeted.
However, members of the public have since said they have never listened to the messages on their local radio and TV stations.
Analysts also say that even though the messages had been recorded, they cannot cost shs20 million.