MPs given ultimatum to return, account for Shs 20m COVID-19 money

MPs have been given an ultimatum to return, account for the COVID-19 money
MPs have been given an ultimatum to return, account for the COVID-19 money by May 27.

Kampala, Uganda | URN | MPs who have not yet spent the Shs 20 million given to them as facilitation for their COVID-19 activities have been given an ultimatum to return the money by May 27, 2020.

In a letter dated May 12, the clerk to parliament Jane Kibirige says that following a meeting of the parliamentary commission on May 11, the commission guided that MPs who spent the money as of May 5, should submit accountability to the clerk to parliament.

Those who have not yet used the money as yet have been asked to take the money to the district task force through the chief administrative officer (CAO), while those MPs representing special interest groups should pay the money to the national COVID-19 task-force. All legislators are expected to submit accountability for the money not later than May 27th.

The decision came after a letter by President Yoweri Museveni indicating that parliament undermined the executive by diverting Shs 10 billion from the supplementary budget which was initially looking at key sectors in the COVID-19 prevention.

The clerk’s order is a twist in events after the speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga told the MPs to spend the money on anti-coronavirus activities within their constituents including fueling ambulances, purchasing relief food among others.

As of May 12, at least 101 MPs of the 458, had returned Shs 2,029,000,000 money with Shs 7,971,000,000 according to figures released by The Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG), a coalition that brings together CSOs and individuals interested in Uganda’s budget process.

The president called for a thorough audit of the process, except for those who have handed the money to the district task force or returned it.

Read Also: Its morally reprehensible for MPs to pocket COVID-19 sh20m – Museveni

The parliament found itself in a nationwide criticism as several Ugandans questioned their role in the ongoing COVID-19 fight, and why they needed the allocation of Shs 10 billion.

President Museveni directed the Auditor General and the Ministry of Health to audit the controversial funds and adherence to coronavirus preventive measures such as social distancing, mass gatherings for the MPs who spent the money on relief aid items in their constituencies.