Kawempe South member of parliament Mubarak Munyagwa has finally assumed the leadership of the parliamentary committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase).
He replaces Abdul Katuntu, the Bugweri County MP who was dropped by the Leader of Opposition in Parliament (LoP) late last year but had his tenure extended by speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga so as to complete the probe into Bank of Uganda's role in the closure of commercial banks.
Cosase is one of the four accountability committees of parliament mandated to examine the audited accounts by the auditor general detailing the appropriation of government funds to different commissions, authorities and enterprises. While handing over to Munyagwa on Monday, Katuntu regretted that the process had been delayed by investigations into the closure and sale of seven commercial reports, whose report was tabled in parliament last Thursday.
He told Munyagwa that despite the fact that Cosase is one of the interesting committees, it has a backlog of reports to handle. According to Katuntu, Cosase has been able to handle just 14 of the 112 statutory bodies during his two and half year tenure in office.
Katuntu explained that they zeroed in on the 14 institutions because of the huge budget allocations they receive. He advised Munyagwa to analyze the budgets allocated to all the institutions to guide his leadership.
He also said that it was important to look at the budgets allocated to the institutions hand in hand with the auditor general's report, which usually highlights accountability issues.
Katuntu added that other than the 14 institutions handled, his leadership completed and wrote a report on the beneficiaries of the so-called Shs 6bn presidential handshake, a report on the Centenary Park land row between Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and Nalongo Estates and other reports laid on table yet to be debated by parliament.
He said that his biggest success was to produce a number of reports without minority reports from members. He urged Munyagwa to work hand in hand with all committee members regardless of party affiliation.
Katuntu also cautioned his successor to be aware of the difficulty of raising quorum when handling business before the committee and pledged his support whenever called upon. In his acceptance speech, Munyagwa described Katuntu as a great personality and a brilliant lawyer he was replacing. He appealed to the public not to compare his working methods with Katuntu because they are totally different people.
Asked what he is going to do first as the new Cosase chairperson, Munyagwa said that he was going to meet the clerk to parliament attached to the committee and come up with a work plan, which will be discussed by the entire committee.
Munyagwa also noted that he wasn't assigned a vice chairperson, saying that he was to meet the speaker and LoP about the matter.
LoP Betty Aol Ocan had assigned Rubaga North MP, Moses Kasibante, an independent to deputize Munyagwa but Kadaga assigned him to the Appointments Committee. He assured the public that he was more than able to steer the committee having served as Kawempe Division mayor before joining parliament.
Asked about pending corruption case against him before court, Munyagwa said that he should be given chance to serve, adding that he is innocent until proven guilty.