Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Speaker of Parliament Anita Among has replaced the 500 iron sheets diverted to her from Karamoja by the Office of the Prime Minister – OPM.
She revealed to legislators in Wednesday’s plenary that she has already purchased 500 iron sheets and directed her personal assistant to return them to the OPM stores to demonstrate transparency and accountability on her side.
Among was implicated alongside other senior ministers for wrongfully benefiting from over 12,000 iron sheets destined for Karamoja region under the affirmative action programme.
Pressure has been piling up on the wrongful beneficiaries of the iron sheets which were being distributed by the Ministry of Karamoja Affairs headed by Dr. Mary Goretti Kitutu who has since admitted mismanagement of the consignment.
“I have always said I got a call that iron sheets have been brought; after further analysis and considering that iron sheets were made for Karamoja and not Bukedea, I have taken a personal decision as a leader to buy 500 iron sheets and give them back. I have sent my personal assistant to give back the iron sheets,” Among said.
Among said she took the decision to protect the image of Parliament which would otherwise be looked at as ‘a grabber’.
“I do not want to be a shame to Parliament, I am doing this for the House,” she said.
Among maintained her earlier stance that she did not request for the iron sheets, and urged MPs not to consider recipients of the iron sheets as thieves.
“All people who were mentioned in the iron sheets saga were not asked; my action is because I do not want the name of Parliament to be tainted. I could have equally said they were given to my vulnerable people in Bukedea,” said Among.
MPs commended the Speaker’s move and urged other recipients of iron sheets to emulate her example.
“The statement you have just made shows deep remorse and good example. The iron sheets were meant for the vulnerable people of Karamoja. Others should equally show remorse and even go an extra mile to return the iron sheets,” said the Chief Opposition Whip John Baptist Nambeshe.
Isingiro County South MP, Alex Byarugaba said Among’s decision is a reflection of good leadership and emphasized the need for other recipients to follow suit.
“I am an elder in this House and from the bottom of my heart, I must say you have shown an example of good leadership. It is very important that this example be immediately followed up; we know that many of the colleagues who received iron sheets were innocent,” Byarugaba said.
Napak District Woman MP, Faith Nakut asked the Speaker to ensure the committee charged with the inquiry of the iron sheets saga be facilitated to travel to Karamoja.
“The committee you asked to investigate this matter was expected to be in Karamoja this week but I learnt they were unable to travel due to logistical reasons. We seek your indulgence that the committee travels to Karamoja; people are waiting for them to give evidence,” Nakut said.
The State House Anti-Corruption Unit last month revealed that iron sheets procured for the vulnerable persons in Karamoja ended up in the possession of some ministers.
Parliament’s Committee on Presidential Affairs in investigating the alleged irregular distribution of the iron sheets