All members of Parliament will be incorporated on the district COVID-19 task forces have been advised to spend the shs20 million advanced to them by the Parliamentary Commission for interventions meant to support the national response to coronavirus pandemic in their respective districts.
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga revealed that these guidelines followed a meeting with the President, the Prime Minister and the Leader of Government Business.
“We agreed on how best the activities of Parliament can be seamlessly incorporated within those being implemented by the existing government structures,” she said.
She added that the task-forces will agree on the best intervention depending on the priorities and accountabilities for the money shall be made to the Accounting Officer of Parliament with a copy to the Chief Administrative Officer of the district where it applies.
Hon.Kadaga stressed that MPs should follow the guidelines from the government in taking part in these activities.
“Do not get personally involved in the distribution of food and other materials purchased for those funds,” Kadaga said adding that, “a member of Parliament shall not organize any meetings in breach of the national guidelines on social distancing”.
In a related development, Members of Parliament rejected the legal advice of the Attorney General that spending of the shs10 billion would amount to contempt of court.
Justice Esta Nambayo issued a Court order on Tuesday, 21 April 2020 to Parliamentary Commission instructing it not to disburse a total of Ushs10bn as appropriated under the Supplementary Expenditure for COVID-19 .
The Attorney General, Hon William Byaruhanga said that what needs clarity is whether the Parliamentary Commission was aware of the court order before they disbursed the funds
However, in his interpretation, Byaruhanga said that the Court had stopped the MPs from spending the money if they had not done so.
“The High Court ruling on Tuesday 21 April barred the Parliament Commission from disbursing the Ushs10 billion. However, I was made aware by the Clerk to Parliament that the money had already been sent out,” he said adding that, “the application said that money which had not been spent by Tuesday should not be touched”.
The Speaker said that by the court interfering with the Shs10 billion, the judge was interfering with the whole supplementary of Shs304 billion. “That means it is all under injunction. It was all in one bill,” Kadaga added.
Kadaga called on Members of Parliament to seek the available avenues of seeking redress if they are aggrieved before going to court.