Parliamentary commission bosses were on Wednesday thrown out of the committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) meeting for lack of accountability papers.
The commission that was led by the Clerk to Parliament, Jane Lubowa Kibirige, were appearing before COSASE to respond to Auditor General’s queries since the 2013/14 Financial Years.
During the meeting, committee chairperson Abdu Katuntu tasked the parliamentary commission to provide status of the unaccounted for advances amounting to Shs3,429,105,022 that was spent in the FY 2013/14.
In her explanation, Kibirige said that the Shs3.4bn advance was as a result of Commission’s activities that are field based across the country such as committee field trips.
“Ideally committee are supposed to draw a work plan including a budget, but something urgent and abrupt will always come in and that is why we pick such advances,” Kibirige said. She later on tasked her junior Patrick Kunobwa, the director of finance to add more light on the detailed expenditure. However, in his submission, Kunobwa could not avail any supporting documents to justify how the advances were spent, but told the committee that he has all the documents and receipts.
The commission bosses were also tasked to account for the money given to MPs for abroad trips after it emerged that some MPs receive the money, but do not travel for the said purpose.
Kunobwa again said that monies were recovered, but could not give supporting documents to that effect.
This irked COSASE members who agreed to adjourn the meeting to Thursday until the commission brings all the required documents before they can proceed with other queries.
“This is an evidence based committee and there is nothing we can look at without companying docs. I want the committee to know that we come here to scrutinize docs not to lament,” Bukoto East MP Florence Namayanja said.
Bukedea Woman MP Anita Among, also COSASE vice chair said that the committee will not bend their laws because they are dealing with our own.
Kashari south MP Nathan Itungo urged the committee chair to always remind people who appear before their committee to carry with them documents.
“Next time we need to indicate that documents are necessary because this is an accountability committee otherwise these people should have been chased away early in the morning for wasting our time,” Itungo said.
In his ruling, Katuntu gave the Commission up to 2pm today to present all the required documents to his office for scrutiny ahead of the Thursday meeting.
Peter Ogwang, Parliamentary commissioners also Usuk County MP told the meeting the Commission has all the supporting documents and there is no need for alarm or suspicions of corruption.
“As far as the parliamentary commission is concerned, we have all the supporting docs and before 2pm, I am ordering the clerk to give the documents to the chairperson to scrutinize. It is true parliament is the epitome of accountability and we shall be here tomorrow with the documents,” Ogwang said.
Katuntu says they shd use all of today then bring the docs tommorow. The way we are proceeding is not right. You have looked at your responses and you are referring to docs, yet u ve no docs n we can’t ascertain whether these queries shd be dropped or upheld. I suggest we send the commission back and prepare all docs.
Katuntu: we can’t have any opinion now coz we don’t ve the docs for us to have an opinion. We are not saying commission is hiding anything. The committee had only handled first n was on the second query.
Ogwang: : as far parliamentary commssion is concerned. we have all the supporting docs. before 2pm, the clerk shd ve given the docs to scruntinise to the chairperson. It’s true parliament is the epitome of accountability and we shall be here tomorrow with the docs.
Katuntu: the issues we are raising are 2013/14 so when shall we get up to date.