Kadaga faults PAC on OPM theft probe
Posted Thursday, February 14 2013 at 02:00
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga yesterday said the parliamentary inquiry into the theft of Shs50 billion in foreign aid, channelled through the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), will continue after court cases are concluded. Ms Kadaga also accused the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of delaying the investigations.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Monitor and NTV in Kampala, the Speaker explained that because of the public interest in the OPM scandal, after she received a forensic audit report from the Auditor General last October, she directed the PAC to act on it and report to Parliament within weeks.
“I have not stopped the inquiry into the OPM scam. The investigation will continue after the court process,” Ms Kadaga said. “Parliament and the Judiciary were competing for the same witnesses, yet our Rules of Procedure don’t allow that. If the PAC had followed my instructions, we wouldn’t have found ourselves in this situation. I gave them the report in October 2012. This is February 2013 and I have not seen any report.”
She added: “Nobody has stopped the PAC, but they cannot operate outside the rules of procedure. They cannot compete for the same witnesses. We should allow the Judiciary to do its work. As long as the matter is not before courts, the PAC is free to do its work. The inquiry will resume after the court process.”
In response, PAC vice chairperson Paul Mwiru said: “It was impossible to finish the work in two weeks. This issue is political. We gave a brief to Parliament about the progress in the investigations.”
Ms Kadaga also rejected Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah’s ruling last year that the sub-judice rule only applies to proceedings in the plenary and not committees. She said: “Rule 64 is very clear on these matters. It does not differentiate between plenary and committees. The committees do business of behalf of Parliament. In any case, sub-judice is sub-judice.”
On February 8, Ms Kadaga wrote to the PAC chairman, Mr Kassiano Wadri, explaining that that the Rules of Procedure do not permit Parliament to handle issues, if a case is already in court. She said she had received a complaint from the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Richard Butera, that the PAC investigations were “highly prejudicial” to the court process. The Daily Monitor has seen a copy of the letter from Mr Butera,
“When I received the complaint from DPP, I asked my staff to confirm whether it’s true that the witnesses the PAC wanted to interview were also going to appear in the courts. They confirmed that it was true and I had no choice but to allow the Judiciary to do it work,” Ms Kadaga said. “I don’t control the Judiciary but the DPP has assured me that the courts will handle these matters expeditiously. As soon as the courts are done, the PAC will resume the investigations.”