The Rules Committee of Parliament has summoned the Leader of Opposition Mathias Mpuuga together with the Bukoto South Member of Parliament, Twaha Kagabo to explain the source of the 40 million Shillings that “they have been throwing around.”
The Speaker of Parliament Anita Among directed the committee to probe Kagabo’s claim that he received 40 million Shillings from her residence and intended to return it to the source. While Among denies giving out the money, she also questioned the intention of the MP whose accusation she said, is tantamount to abuse of the institution of Parliament.
This followed an attempt by MP Kagabo to return the money that was highly criticized by the public and his party, the National Unity Platform-NUP to the Leader of Opposition (LOP), Mathias Mpuuga during a Shadow Cabinet meeting.
“Some time ago, I received money to a tune of 40 million on my account, and shortly after that I was also invited to pick money…40 million which money, I was told was an arrangement internally from parliament. And I received this money,” Kagabo partly told members of the Shadow Cabinet.
Kagabo said that he had taken long to return the money after soul searching and getting feedback from his constituency. But amidst the controversy, the Speaker asked the Rules Committee now chaired by Bugweri County MP Abdul Katuntu to probe the matter.
Katuntu told journalists at Parliament that the committee has held its preliminary meetings and resolved to summon MP Kagabo and the Leader of Opposition to ascertain whether it is true that Kagabo tried to return the money as alleged on the hansard.
“We need the Leader of Opposition because he is the only one to whom it is alleged that money was being returned when you look at the hansard. That’s all. Because he is the only one mentioned. We want to know from the LOP’s office whether there was any money allegedly returned by MP Kagabo Twaha,” Katuntu explained.
He added that after having an interaction with the two witnesses, his committee will decide on how to proceed with the matter.
Katuntu said that they have decided to write to Kagabo early enough so that he prepares to respond to the allegations against him according to the hansard record, adding that his committee will afford all parties in the issue an opportunity to be heard in a transparent matter.
Asked why the committee has not considered interacting with the Speaker, Katuntu said that other witnesses would only be considered after Kagabo responds to the allegations as captured on hansard.
The Inspectorate of Government (IG) is also carrying out investigations into the matter. Last week, the IG briefly held MP Kagabo and obtained a statement from him as well as the 40 million Shillings. No charges have been preferred against the MP yet.
In June this year, the media was awash with reports indicating that legislators had received 40 million Shillings ahead of the budget approved under questionable circumstances.
NUP described the cash handout as immoral and illegal and directed its MPs to return the money when some legislators approached the party leadership for guidance. The decision was reached in a crisis meeting chaired by the NUP president, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu at the party headquarters.
In a statement, NUP alleged that the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) MPs were receiving the money in cash from Parliament, while the Opposition and Independent MPs were receiving it from the residence of Speaker, Anita Among.
However, Parliament dismissed the alleged payout to the legislators. Chris Obore, the Director of Communication and Public Affairs at Parliament, said that the institution was not aware of the transaction and instead advised NUP to interest the accountability committees in the matter if indeed there had been any such payment outside the known procedures of parliament.