Friday February 7 2014

MP Kipoi should vacate his seat, House committee recommends


Parliament- Following nearly two months of inquiry, the parliamentary Committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline has recommended that Bubulo West MP Tonny Kipoi vacates his seat in the House.

Mr Kipoi was found to have violated a House rule and constitutional provision prohibiting extended absence from sittings without leave from the Speaker. He was accused of absenting himself from 15 consecutive sittings.

Whereas the committee chairperson, Mr Fox Odoi (West Budaama West), admitted that the committee is done with the investigations and has submitted a report to the Speaker, he refused to divulge the details of the report.

“We submitted the committee report to Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga on January 20 and Parliament will handle it as soon as we reconvene from recess. As chairperson, I cannot discuss the details before the report is discussed by Parliament,” Mr Odoi told the Daily Monitor yesterday.

But sources on the Rules committee told the Daily Monitor that they had recommended that Parliament declares the MP’s seat vacant.

Article 83(1) (d) of the Constitution says that any MP that misses 15 consecutive sittings of the House without the Speaker’s consent automatically loses his/her seat.

“We gave him several chances to appear before the committee to explain why he was away for that long period of time but he did not show up. Instead, his lawyers appeared but they were giving us contradicting information regarding his whereabouts,” said the source.

MP’s conduct
The MPs said Mr Kipoi’s conduct was suspicious and tainted the image of Parliament.

Whereas lawyer Fred Mbidde claimed that the MP was ill and in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the controversial MP said he fled Uganda into exile after his bank accounts were frozen by the government.
Moving under Rule 101 of the Parliamentary Rules of Procedure, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga on November 19, last year, directed the committee to investigate Mr Kipoi’s conduct and report to the House before December 2013.

Ms Kadaga also turned down a request by Mr Kipoi to be allowed to travel to South Africa for treatment, saying the MP did not apply formally.