By Sandra Birungi
The Speaker of parliament, Rebecca Kadaga called for the halting of investigations into the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) misappropriation of funds.
Ms Kadaga, on February 8, wrote a letter to the Public Accounts Committee chairman, Mr Kassiano Wadri, explaining that the Rules of Procedure do not permit Parliament to handle issues, if proceedings have begun in courts of law. “I am, therefore, of the opinion that the continuation of the investigations will prejudice the fair determination of the cases before court,” she said. “I, therefore, direct that you stop the investigations until such a time when the cases have been concluded or as otherwise further directed.”
Mr. Wadri, who expressed dissatisfaction with the Speaker’s directive, met the PAC to inform members of the developments. “The whole action is a betrayal. We have spent more than three moths reading documents, and preparing to ask the right questions, only to be told that the inquiry has been stopped,” Mr. Wadri said. Mr. Wadri added: “I can’t rule out undue interference.
Shadow Attorney General, Mr Abdu Katuntu cited Article 164 of the Constitution, which says all accounting officers are accountable to Parliament. “Rules of Procedure cannot limit the constitutional mandate of Parliament,” Mr Katuntu said. “The Speaker should use her discretion powers, but the sub-judice rule is not cast in stone. It’s wrong to stop the inquiry into the abuse of funds in the OPM; we are not subordinate to the DPP.”
Sh50 billion in foreign aid channeled through the Office of the Prime Minister was misappropriated and parliament needed accountability of the funds. So far, arrests have been made in connection to the fraud.