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Court orders MPs to return Shs 10bn to public coffers

MPs Gerald Karuhanga (R) and Jonathan Odur filed the application

MPs Gerald Karuhanga (R) and Jonathan Odur filed the application

The High court has ordered all MPs who benefited from the Shs 10 billion allocation to either refund it or hand it over to the national or district Covid-19 task forces. 
 
Justice Michael Elubu issued the order Wednesday afternoon while delivering his ruling on an application filed by the Ntungamo municipality MP Gerald Karuhanga and Erute South MP Jonathan Odur contesting the manner in which parliament allocated the said money.   

The parliamentary commission through its lawyers led by Sitinah Cherotich agreed with Karuhanga that the money be returned through the three channels listed as long as it is under public control. 

Karuhanga through his lawyer, David Mpanga proposed that legislators who received the money and don’t represent any district, return it to either the parliamentary commission or national taskforces, which will then channel it to the district task forces.

Court also heard that the interim order issued by court on April 21 temporarily blocking the payment of the money to the legislators was overtaken by events since it was deposited on individual accounts of the legislators on April 17, 2020. 

Mpanga stated that as long as the money first goes into public control, the merits of the main suit challenging the procedure leading to its allocation can be dealt with at a later stage. Shortly after the court directive Karuhanga told journalists that he has now got some relief because the money will return in public control. 

Background   

Karuhanga petitioned court last week accusing parliament breached its rules of procedure when it included the money in question into the report of the budget committee without consent of the committee members. The Shs 10 billion is part of the Shs 304 billion supplementary budget that was approved by parliament on April 4th, 2020 to facilitate the Covid-19 response.    

Karuhanga alleged that parliament deducted the money from the Health and Security budgets to distribute it among legislators to purportedly carry out Covid-19 sensitisation activities yet the procedure leading to the same was marred by procedural impropriety.

Each MP pocketed Shs 20 million. In his application, Karuhanga argued that citizens were most likely to suffer from irreparable damage if parliamentarians are not directed to return the monies to public accounts for proper usage. Some legislators had already vowed to return the money once it is deposited on their accounts. 

On Tuesday, the speaker of parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, said they would forward the returned money to districts where the affected legislators hail from.

 
Last night, President Yoweri Museveni also described the actions of the MPs who received the money as morally reprehensible; adding that they had entered into a trap. 
 

Comments

+1 #1 Humless 2020-04-29 15:59
Well done Gerald,well done Jonathan.
God bless u true sons of the land.
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+1 #2 simon peter 2020-04-29 16:28
Big up to the Karungas of this world, please always do the same, these MPs allow themselves to be used by the executive and then turn around wanting to pay themselves for having been used, now let them know things can change.
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+1 #3 sula 2020-04-29 17:50
1- Now that the shs20m is sorted out, Let us now ask why it was being forced under their throats (bribe ).

2- To keep quiet about the billions given to Defence and State house all classified.

3- We can now ask , Is it right to ALLOCATE all those Billions to defense and State house at this point in time? Is it not broad day robbery ?.

4- Is is not better for mr museveni to retain his salary but refund all these billions ?
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0 #4 Nalongo Mutiima 2020-04-30 07:44
There are MPs who thought it was going to be business as usual of receiving money under the table and all will be fine.

I heard others cheekily asking Kadaga (Robin hood) to even give them more money to buy food for their hungry constituents.

Now the tide has changed which has exposed them - they are not government procurement officers they have to return the money to the rightful place.

i was amused that some MPs now want to save face claiming they want to appeal to M7 to come to the thieves aid.

Do they want M7 to reverse the court decision?
Do they want to plead guilty and publicly apologise to the taxpayer?

Do they want to show they are privy to reasons why the money was shared among the usual suspects? Are they trying to cast the president as an accomplice, who is performing PR to divert public attention and assuage their outrage? Just thinking.
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0 #5 WADADA rogers 2020-04-30 21:17
I dont know why Kadaga is busy throwing tantrums over this money, he emotions have betrayed the cause, nobody knows why she badly wanted MPs to take this money and use it the way they pleased.

She has attacked every one who opposed its payment right from Odur and Karuhanga, to Attorney General, to the executive and the judiciary.
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