Government asks Parliament to go slow on Dam investigations
The Attorney General, William Byaruhanga has written to the Ministry of Energy, warning against any investigations instituted on construction of two dam projects.
Byaruhanga, in a letter addressed to Minister Irene Muloni, says there is an ongoing court case filed by one, Henry Kyalimpa, calling for value for money audit into the construction works at Isimba and Karuma hydropower dams.
The Karuma and Isimba dams, estimated to cost about 7 trillion shillings, have been dogged by complaints over irregularities in the construction process, including cracks on the dams, use of inferior grade of draft tubes, poor fabrication and use of foreign building materials instead of local ones.
But Mr. Byaruhanga states that due to Kyalimpa’s case, which he filed in May 2016 calling for a value for money audit on the projects, it would be subjudice for any parallel investigations to be held.
Parliament recently set up a nine-man select committee to investigate the irregularities into the projects; however Byarugaba also wants the institution to halt the process.
The Natural Resources committee chairman, Alex Byarugaba, who read the letter to members during a meeting convened on October 14th 2016, says that due to the developments, the committee will write to the Speaker to give a legal opinion on the matter.
“The only option we have is to write to the Speaker who will determine whether the matter before the committee is subjudice,” Byarugaba said.
To get more legal guidance, Susan Katono, Parliament’s Legal counsel affirmed to the committee that the Speaker, under Rule 64 of the Rules of Procedure, is mandated to decide on the matter.
“The reason why the Speaker is given the discretion to make the ruling is because of the principle of separation of powers, that ideally Parliament should not be interfered in its processes. We don’t want that right interfered with by another arm of government,” Katono told the committee.
Irene Muloni, who attended the meeting briefly, stepped out to attend a meeting with the President. The ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Kabagambe Kaliisa declined to comment on the matter, stating that it would be indiscipline if he deviated from the Attorney General’s opinion.