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New COSASE members cautioned on corruption

COSASE chair Joel Ssenyonyi challenged each committee member to operate with integrity. Photo via @JoelSsenyonyi

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Members of the Parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) have been cautioned against corruption as the committee started its work.

The warning was issued by the new committee chairperson and Nakawa West MP Joel Ssenyonyi while delivering his remarks at the orientation of the committee members on Tuesday. Ssenyonyi said that there have been concerns about accountability committees including COSASE engaging in corruption tendencies, with members courting or lobbying the different entities they are supposed to supervise.

He says several members of Parliament were fighting to be included on the committee, forcing him to find out the basis of their interest, which in the end had nothing to do with their role as legislators. He says that the members need to remain independent, reject bribes and work with integrity if their work is to progress.

Mpindi Bumali, the National MP representing persons with disabilities says that several entities will actually bribe members, and there will be networks and several groups lobbying to cover up for their mess in the institutions they are heading.

Kasilo County MP Elijah Okupa asked especially the new MPs to be aware of entities who seek to blackmail MPs.

Hashim Suliaman, the Nebbi municipality MP said that MPs who engage in these acts should be excluded from the committee.

On several occasions, the former Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga complained about MPs and Parliament committees engaging in bribery. She said that some legislators would act individually, yet committing parliament to such misdeeds.

But Naome Kibaju, the Sheema North MP said that whereas the chairperson raised the concern of bribes, she has been in Parliament and has never received a bribe, and added that there is no reason for them to engage in corruption.

Meanwhile, the committee is also seeking to make amendments to an the earlier decision of approving all audited reports without scrutiny by Parliament, saying the move has left accountability committees with no business.

In the 10th Parliament, a motion was passed to adopt all reports of the Auditor General running back as far as 10years whose findings hadn’t been scrutinized by accountability committees. Parliament at the time argued that clearing the backlog would allow the next Parliament to start on a clean slate.

However, Joel Ssenyonyi described the decision as problematic stating that if upheld, both Public Accounts Committee (Central) and Local Government and COSASE would remain idle, waiting for the Auditor-General to unveil another report with the earliest date slated for December 2021.

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