President Museveni has issued a directive to the Auditor General to audit each Member of Parliament that received Shs20m from the supplementary budget meant for Covid-19.
The directive is carried in a three-page letter from President Museveni to Kadaga in which he accuses parliament of diverting money from government plans.
The letter dated 28th April, 2020 claims that MPs illegally and illogically awarded themselves the money by reshuffling government priorities and replacing them with their own.
“First of all, it is unconstitutional, both in logic and law, it cannot be correct that the Head of Government, the president through the ministers responsible, submits a plan for expenditure to parliament and then parliament reshuffles priorities and creates its own against the plan of the president,” Museveni says.
According to the president, Parliament has the right to approve or disapprove the budget but it is completely not right for them to unilaterally reshuffle government priorities in their favor.
Accuses Kadaga of duping him
Museveni claims that Kadaga ‘duped’ him when she met him together with the Prime Minister to discuss the Shs20m for MPs yet the money had already been issued to MPs’ respective accounts.
“When it came to the matter of Shs20m for each MP, by the time you came to see me with the Rt Hon Prime Minister, we were told that the money had already been sent to MPs’ accounts. How could that happen,” he wonders.
“Isn’t a supplementary expenditure part of the Finance Bill? Isn’t the president supposed to first assent or otherwise to that Bill before it becomes Law? Who then authorized the expenditure according to the Bill that had not become Law? Is that not illegal?”
In the letter, a visibly angry Museveni says that he met with Kadaga to find amicable way to handle the matter, but the speaker did not address the legislators on the same.
“I told you to please get the MPs out of that cul de sac by each MP taking the money to the District Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) in the presence of the District Task Force. In that case the problem would have remained between the Executive and Parliament of reshuffling the priorities of the executive without consultation. However, the public anger that the MPs were self- serving, selfish people, especially the MPs of the NRM, would have been obviated,” Museveni opines.
“I now, however, hear and I have seen on some TV pictures, MPs distributing food to the public or MPs delivering some items to the District Task Force. The question is, are the MPs the purchasing officers of the Republic of Uganda? The accounting officers of the country are well known. The MPs are certainly not among them. Which procurement rules did these individual MPs follow.”
As a result, the president has directed the Auditor General to start a serious audit of all respective Members of Parliament who have refused to hand over the shs20m to the District.
This audit, he says should be carried out within only four weeks.
“My decision therefore is that by copy of this letter, I am requesting the Auditor General to audit this aspect, where the MPs became purchasing officers of the state and see whether their efforts were legal. I ask him to conclude it in four weeks so that we do not have to wait indefinitely,” he wrote.
Parliament praises Museveni
The development comes barely 24 hours after parliament in a twist of events passed a motion praising President Museveni for his efforts in helping the country fight the deadly coronavirus.
The legislators heaped praise onto the president for using “military tactics” that have seen the country make great strides in fighting the virus, a thing they said should not go unnoticed.
“His intellectual power, military genius as a ssabalwanyi and experience in fighting other outbreaks like Cholera and Ebola show that he is saving lives in Uganda,”Kiboga East legislator, Keefa Kiwanuka said.
Describing him as a Pan Africanist, West Moyo County MP, Tony Aza asked the August House to refer to other achievements for this country that he said President Museveni has key in all those successes.
“He is a peacekeeper, a nationalist, liberator , freedom fighter and cares for the people of Uganda. We shall continue fighting Coronavirus until nobody dies in this country,” Aza said.
From the opposition, FDC and Nwoya County MP Simon Oyet supported the motion saying it is not time for politics but rather giving credit where it is due.
The president a few weeks ago said MPs had fallen into a trap when they accepted the shs20 million each to help in the fight against the deadly virus.
““I’m very thankful with Ugandans; they have responded but the Shs20 million by the MPs that caused confusion. It’s bad planning but secondly, there were also legal and constitutional issues involved. It would be morally irreprehensible to give themselves money for personal use when the country is in such a crisis and totally unacceptable to the NRM,”Museveni said while addressing the nation.
He ordered that the legislators return the money to the district Covid-19 task forces.
However, in response, Parliament led by Speaker Kadaga termed this a direct attack from the executive to the August House and promised to fire back.
Last week, Parliament was moved by Kira Municipality MP, Ibrahim Ssemuju Nganda to pass a motion of displeasure condemning the president for leading the on the August House.
The MPs also refused to pass a supplementary budget over the comments by Museveni.
The latest development seems to be a continuation of a showdown between the two arms of government that has characterised the last few weeks of the Covid-19 fight.