Nakawa West Member of Parliament Joel Ssenyonyi has accused Speaker Anita Among of encouraging some of his committee members to start a censure motion against him over the allegation of indiscipline.
“I am told Speaker Anita Among called some of my committee members to her office and asked them to start a censure motion against me for indiscipline and disobeying the Speaker’s orders,” said Ssenyonyi in a statement.
Ssenyonyi who is also the Chairperson of Committee on State Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) claimed that during the Uganda Airlines inquiry Among wrote to him “guiding” him to lock the media out during the inquiries.
In that letter shared by Ssenyonyi, Among said “Whereas your inquiry into the audit queries of the Uganda National Airlines Company Ltd has elicited significant public attention, I am cognizant of the sensitivity of some of the matters under consideration and its potential ramifications on the operations of the entity”
While the audit process was integral in streamlining operations of the public entities, Among said there was need for a careful balance between accountability and business continuity.
“I therefore guide that the committee adopts closed door proceedings in its inquiry into the operations of Uganda National Airlines Company Ltd,” Among guided.
Ssenyonyi said he wrote back to the Speaker expressing his discomfort because there was nothing too sensitive to keep away from the public, adding that other entities were also investigated publicly.
“From trying to protect them from public scrutiny, to now sitting on the report, one day the truth behind all this will surface. And by the way, in this letter she appreciated COSASE for the commendable work we have been doing, she only changed her mind when I kept asking why the report wasn’t given space,” said Ssenyonyi.
In the meantime, Ssenyonyi said they will continue with their work as a committee, adding that next week they will embark on an investigation into Parliament of Uganda.
The Director, Communication and Public Affairs, Chris Obore said the Speaker’s concerns about the performance of the committee arise from a comparative analysis of the performance of the Public Accounts Committees of Parliament since May 2021.
“The Committee on Public Accounts (Local Government) has, since May 2021 to date, produced 87 reports; the Committee on Public Accounts (Central Government) has produced over 35 reports; and COSASE has produced five (5) reports,” he noted in a statement.
Obore insisted that the Speaker’s investigation on the performance of COSASE stemmed from concerns about the disparity of the performance of the Public Accounts Committees of Parliament.
Among, who is also Bukedea District MP, claimed that the performance of COSASE chaired by Ssenyonyi was of great concern, noting that out of 111 entities probed by the auditor general, the committee only considered four entities. She wants Ssenyonyi to be investigated over poor performance and mishandling of committee affairs.
She said Parliament invested a lot of money in the committee but it has not got results because the House had six months to consider and pronounce itself on the reports. She the six months have passed but the reports are not ready.
Ssenyonyi accused Parliament for failure to debate the reports his committee had so far handled, particularly the controversial Uganda Airlines report. He accused the Speaker of playing delaying tactics by not considering the report over unclear reasons.
Ssenyonyi also queried the motive of the speaker to meet with some of the airlines officials, especially its chief executive officer, Jenifer Bamuturaki who he said had been pinned by the findings of his probe.