Management at Parliament has explained the decision to suspend activities of the Rebecca Kadaga Institute of Parliamentary Studies (RAKIPS), saying it was meant to allow the Clerk to Parliament to conduct an audit into its operations.
Addressing the press, the Director of Communications and Public Affairs Department in Parliament Chris Obore said that RAKIPS is under the Clerk to Parliament Adolf Mwesige, who also serves as the accounting officer and there was a need for him to conduct an audit.
Obore was concerned that the RAKIPS operations are not aligned to the Parliamentary calendar which has in some instances led to a clash of programs.
In a letter dated September 24, to the Executive Director of the Institute, Charles Binwe, Mwesige directed for the halting of the activities of the Institute to allow his office to conduct an audit into its operations.
“I have received reliable information to the effect that funds disbursed to the RAKIPS in form of subvention are being managed in an illegal and irregular manner. As you might be aware, RAKIPS has no authority to manage a vote of its own within the meaning of the Public Finance Management Act of 2015 (PFMA). The funds being expended by RAKIPS in form of subvention are part and parcel of the budget of the Parliamentary Commission for which the Clerk to Parliament is accountable as the Accounting Officer in accordance with Section 11(2) of the PFMA,” the letter reads in part.
Mwesige in the letter points out that the RAKIPS Executive Director has been managing the funds of the institute without reference to the Office of the Clerk to Parliament.
“I am by a copy of this letter requesting the Internal Auditor of Parliament to commence an audit of all RAKIPS expenditure from inception to date. I have also initiated consultations with the Accountant General to advice on the propriety of the bank account and mode of expenditure of public funds allocated to RAKIPS,” further reads the letter.
The Institute provides Parliamentarians, Parliament staff and stakeholders with institutionalized opportunities for systematic capacity building in various disciplines of parliamentary processes.
RAKIPS first started in 2012 as a department in Parliament under the name, Institute of Parliamentary Studies. Before the enactment of the law, the institute was just an organ created under the Administration of Parliament Act.
In 2020, the Institute was established by an Act of Parliament as a semi-autonomous body with the objective of conducting courses for the exposition and enhancement of the knowledge, skills and experience of members and staff of the Parliamentary Commission and other legislatures, including local government councils.
The institute operates as an agency of Government under the supervision and control of the Parliamentary Commission. It among others conducts training of Members of Parliament and staff in Uganda and elsewhere in the world, as well as training of local government officials.
In February this year, former Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga inaugurated the first board for the Institute of parliamentary studies. The board is chaired by Dokolo Woman MP Cecilia Atim Ogwal and has MPs Anna Adeke Ebaju, former Gulu Municipality MP Lyandro Komakech, Isingiro South MP Alex Byarugaba Bakunda, Justine Niwagaba and Dr Stella Kyohairwe as members.
Section 5 of the Institute of the Parliamentary Studies Act provides that the Parliamentary Commission shall be the overall policy organ of the Institute and shall be responsible for the strategic direction of the Institute.