Former LoPs Ogenga, Kiiza say Mpuuga's cash award lacks legal backing

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Former LoPs Ogenga, Kiiza say Mpuuga's cash award lacks legal backing
Winnie Kiiza and Latigo Ogenga say Mpuuga defiled the law

For other Members, Parliament awards gratuity (an award as for meritorious service given without claim or obligation) and this is one of the clauses Mpuuga has been clutching on to defend the cash bonanza.

KAMPALA | Former Leaders of Opposition in Parliament (LoP) say the so-called "service award" given to Mathias Mpuuga has merit but should have been backed by the law.

While Winnie Kiiza has defended the service award, she says it should be streamlined to an institution (Office of LoP) and not an individual like it was the case with Mpuuga.

Prof Ogenga Latigo says the Parliamentary Commission's decision was illegal given that there is no legal backing for the rewards undertaking.

Mpuuga received Shs500m and the three commissioners Shs400m each in what the Commission said was tied to person-to-holder basis, meaning only the four enjoyed the reward.

On Thursday, Mpuuga's party, the National Unity Platform (NUP) released a statement in which it said the former LoP had admitted his wrongdoing and apologised during a Wednesday meeting convened by their leader Robert Kyagulanyi.

The party also said in the unsigned statement that Mpuuga had to step down from his new role as a backbench commissioner.

But Mpuuga charged his batteries overnight and emerged with a terse two-page statement on Friday in which he accused the party of orchestrating a sustained smear campaign against his person.

"To call any such payments corruption is the highest level of spite, double standards and deliberate misrepresentation to the public," he said.

He declared he would not step down from his position.

"The only mistake they made was attaching the reward to an individual rather than the office," Ms Kiiza said.

"It should be institutionalized such that whoever occupies the office is entitled to it."

Prof Latigo says he had written to the leadership of Parliament over the gratuity of the Office of LoP at the beginning of the 11th Parliament only for his requests to fall on deaf ears

The former LoP says it not the mandate of the Parliamentary Commission to determine awards and the matter should have been subjected to a debate of the house.

"The commission doesn't have powers," said the former Agago County legislator.

"They should have amended the law first. What they did was wrong."

Latigo says awarding self-retirement benefit is abuse of office.

"If you do it like that, it looks like an abuse of the office"

According to the Parliamentary Pensions Act, officers like the President, Vice President, Speaker, Prime Minister and judges are some of those entitled to retirement benefits.

For other Members, Parliament awards gratuity (an award as for meritorious service given without claim or obligation) and this is one of the clauses Mpuuga has been clutching on to defend the cash bonanza.

But it still leaves many wondering why the LoP, in office for only a year, was being feted by the Parliamentary Commission yet his tenure was just started.

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