Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Parliament has distanced itself from the alleged payout to legislators. This follows a claim by the National Unity Platform (NUP) party that MPs had been paid 40 million in cash from Parliament.
A dozen of MPs majority of whom asked for anonymity to speak freely on the issue had told Uganda Radio Network that the money was dished out over the weekend. They said that NRM MPs received their share at parliament on Saturday and some on Sunday night while the opposition MPs picked their share from the speaker’s residence.
The president of the National Unity Platform-NUP, the biggest opposition party in parliament, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu had also held a crisis meeting at the party headquarters in which he demanded that MPs who subscribe to the party should return the money in question.
But Chris Obore, the Director of Communication and Public Affairs at Parliament said that the institution was not aware of such transactions and instead advised the National Unity Platform to interest the accountability committees in the matter with evidence for action if indeed there has been any such payment by Parliament to MPs outside known procedure.
“Parliament distances itself from the alleged payment as claimed by the NUP, and treats it as a deliberate, persistent smear campaign against the leadership of Parliament. Any payment to MPs by the Commission is charged on the Consolidated Account, and remitted to an individual MP’s bank account,” read a press statement.
Obore explained that the MPs who NUP claims received the money are duty-bound under Section 10 of the Penal Code Act 2002 (as amended) to declare the same to the Inspectorate of Government for proper investigation. Short of the above, Obore pointed out that the statement is an effort to tarnish the institution of Parliament where ironically, NUP has representation at the highest decision-making organs-the Committees and Commission.
Obore warned that the image of Parliament should not be sacrificed at the altar of internal party intrigue. “Parliament belongs to all citizens, not an individual political party, therefore; respect to Parliament in respect to citizens,” he emphasized.
Last week, Ofwono Opondo, the Director of the Government-owned Uganda Media Centre said he had information that MPs had received the money. “I understand each collected 40 million Shillings last Thursday night and in case you experienced a jam at the parliament at night,” Opondo said.