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Accountability committees seek to rescind tenth parliament decision on scrutiny of AG reports

Medard Lubega Sseggona, Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairperson and Joel Ssenyonyi, the Chairperson COSASE. URN photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Chairpersons of Parliament’s Accountability Committees are seeking to rescind an earlier decision of Parliament to approve pending reports by the Auditor General without the scrutiny of the House.

On 30th June 2020, the tenth Parliament in a sitting chaired by former Speaker Rebecca Kadaga passed a motion to the effect that the reports of the Auditor-General that had not been considered by the accountability committees be adopted in terms of their recommendations without scrutiny.

However, Medard Lubega Sseggona, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) – Central Government Chairperson says that this decision has affected the operations of the accountability committees yet it is their duty under the Constitution to examine and scrutinize reports of the Auditor General on an annual basis.

Sseggona addressed journalists at Parliament together with Joel Ssenyonyi, the Chairperson of the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) and Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, the PAC- Local Government Chairperson.

According to Sseggona, they have today filed a notice of motion to the Speaker and Clerk to Parliament seeking to rescind the decision by the tenth Parliament, to allow their committees to reopen the reports of the Auditor-General for the years affected.

“We believe and know that this motion was motivated by goodwill and good faith considering the backlog but we also think that it affected the operations of the three committees after the resolution. We have therefore taken the liberty as the affected Chairpersons and several colleagues in those committees to file another motion for a resolution of parliament reconsidering the earlier resolution passed in 2020,” he said.

Sseggona said that in their motion, the accountability committees specifically want the 2019/2020 financial year audit report recalled for scrutiny as they wait for the new audit report by the Auditor General that will be released in December.

The Busiro East MP says that they will work so hard to be able to overcome the culture of backlog in parliament and also emphasizes that scrutiny is central to the fight against corruption in the country.

Ssenyonyi said that seeking to remedy the backlog by the previous parliament posed a bigger challenge and made accountability committees idle.

Mapenduzi also said that the previous parliament’s decision does not solve the problem of backlog and that instead compromises the set standards of accountability.

Asked whether the parliament rules of procedure favour their decision, Sseggona said that they are moving under rules 56 and 222 (2) to rescind or reconsider the motion or resolution of parliament.

“What you need to do is to file a formal motion proceeded with a 14 days notice, which we are doing and I can give assurance that we are compliant with the rules,” said Sseggona.

Rule 56 provides that no motion shall be moved unless the member moving it has given written notice of the motion to the Speaker and the Clerk not less than three days previous to the sitting at which it is intended to move the motion.

On the other hand, rule 222 (2) provides that the House may reconsider its decision upon a substantive motion for the reconsideration, moved under a notice of not less than 14 days.

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