Parliament’s Committee on Rules fails to produce reports on UMEME bribery claims
Where did the Parliamentary Committee on Discipline, Rules and Privileges end up with the UMEME bribery claims? After an Ad hoc committee was created by Parliament to investigate the energy sector, whereupon it recommended that the UMEME contract be terminated, there were allegations that were made against a background of claims that some Members of Parliament might have been compromised to vote against the adoption of the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee on Energy that would have seen the UMEME contract terminated.
In Octobers 2013, the Kyankwanzi District Woman Member of Parliament, Anna Nankabirwa accused some members of the Ad hoc Committee on energy of having received some money from UMEME, which purportedly compromised the report of the said committee. As a result, Parliament through the Rt Hon Speaker, Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga ruled that the allegation be scrutinised by the Committee of Rules, Discipline and Privilege, to ascertain the verity of the allegation. Subsequently, the Committee scheduled several meetings, which they eventually held in the quest for the information form the concerned parties.
It was averred by the Chairperson of the Rules Committee, Hon Oboth Oboth that Hon Nakabirwa Anne had assured the NRM Parliamentary caucus that some of the MPs had been given UGX 3 million bribe each to kill the UMEME report. The committee had scheduled that Hon Rugunda and Hon Bahati informs them of their investigations since the then Prime Minister, Hon Amama Mbabazi had promised that government would look into the matter.
During one of the meetings with witnesses, the committee acknowledged that a police report noted that the Detective Commissioner Kato was told by the management of Protea Hotel that the registration book was full, but the members discovered that the book actually had several empty pages.
Also, there issue of vehicle registry at the gate to the hotel had issues. Nothing in the registry book indicated that the book presented by the officials from Protea Hotel was for the said hotel. According to members of the Rules Committee, the entry in the book indicated it was a parking lot registry for overnight parking since it had entries for damages on the car and not for the daily customers of the hotel.
Besides, the book also did not have entries from mid-September 2013 to mid-December, 2013 which is the period of interest. The only indication that the book was for Protea Hotel was the stamp dated April 2014, evidently indicating that the records had been doctored.
In the process of investigation by the Rules Committee, several other issues were brought to light, including the fact that the CCTV cameras were down at Protea Hotel where the said money exchange was purported to have taken place, for the entire period. It was therefore impossible to ascertain which Member of Parliament was involved in the transactions.
The committee findings therefore could not yield results as there were so many loopholes that could not be addressed. The Rules Committee while interfacing with Hon Bahati could not obtain any names of the said Members of Parliament who got the advanced sums of money from UMEME. He declined to reveal such names, asserting that the whistle blower did not reveal the names to them.
For a committee that was spending roughly two hundred thousand shillings (200,000/-) on the refreshments of the members of such a committee per meeting, and each of the 23 members fifty thousand shillings (50,000/-) per meeting, and sixty thousand (60,000/-) and fifty five thousand (55,000/-) for the chairperson and vice chairperson respectively, it is definitely a disservice to the tax payers for them not to produce any reports. There is no value for money coming from such a committee of Parliament which is adequately facilitated, yet without reports.