Speaker of parliament Anita Among has reportedly returned the 500 iron sheets meant for the vulnerable people in Karamoja.
Over 12,000 iron sheets were irregularly dished out to different cabinet ministers and government officials by Karamoja Affairs minister Mary Goretti Kitutu. Public pressure has been mounting on the wrongful beneficiaries and Kitutu has since pleaded guilty to mismanagement and apologised to the country.
A disburse voucher from the Office of Prime Minister (OPM) indicates that Among was one of the beneficiaries, and received 500 pieces of iron sheets, which she claims she distributed to government-aided schools in her constituency in Bukedea district.
Among yesterday said that she has since purchased 500 iron sheets and directed her personal assistant to take them to the OPM stores to demonstrate transparency and accountability on her side.
"I got a call that iron sheets have been brought and when they were taken, I said give it to this school. Little did I know that the iron sheets were meant for Karamoja region but after thorough analysis that the iron sheets were meant for Karamoja not Bukedea, I have taken a personal decision that since it was not allocated to the district but also the iron sheets were already given out, I have decided to buy 500 iron sheets and give it back," said Among.
Manjiya County MP John Baptist Nambeshe observed that the decision taken by Among shows remorsefulness for the illegality committed and implored all other wrongful beneficiaries of the relief item to do the same. Kira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda amused the House after he expressed concern over why some ministers such as prime minister Robinah Nabbanja who received 3,000 iron sheets have not yet been arrested by the police.
"Items for Karamoja will need to go to Karamoja. Madam speaker, yesterday the leader of government business was missing here. Even today she's missing. So I wanted to find out if she has been arrested because she took 3,000 iron sheets or she's writing a statement at police," said Ssemujju.
Other ministers faulted for benefiting from the relief iron sheets include; Matia Kasaija, minister of Finance, his deputies Henry Musasizi and Amos Lugolobi, vice president Jessica Alupo, Denis Hamson Obua, government chief whip and Rebecca Kadaga, the minister of East Africa Community Affairs.
In December 2021, parliament passed a Shs 39 billion supplementary budget to support livelihood programmes in Karamoja. Of this Shs 22 billion was to purchase goats and Shs 5 billion for procuring 100,000 iron sheets but these items have largely been mismanaged.
The inspectorate of government, police and parliament's committee on presidential affairs are already investigating the iron sheets saga. Already the lawmakers under their umbrella Karamoja parliamentary group (KPG) have moved a motion in parliament seeking a resolution of the House to censure minister Kitutu and her junior minister, Agnes Nandutu for corruption and incompetence.