Don’t act on rumour to arrest MPs - Among

Members of Parliament during the plenary session chaired by Speaker Anita Among at parliament on June 19, 2024. PHOTO/DAVID LUBOWA

What you need to know:

  • Speaker Among says any arrest of MPs must be transparent, with specific reasons provided and proper summons issued through her office.

Speaker of Parliament Anita Among has directed police to refrain from making arbitrary arrests of Members of Parliament (MPs) based on hearsay.
While chairing the House’s third sitting yesterday, Ms Among emphasised her stance to ensure transparency in any arrest proceedings.

“One thing I insisted on [when I met the police] is that if you want to arrest my member, give the summons to me because originally, they would want to pick up people anyhow,” the Speaker said.

“I have also said [to them,] that when you are bringing summons, we don’t want this to be on hearsay, the list of 30 [being talked about], and those kinds of things. No, tell me why exactly you want this person and the exact reason,” she said.
Speaker Among was responding to concerns raised by Leader of Opposition Joel Ssenyonyi regarding the rearrest of Busiki County MP Paul Akamba shortly after he had been granted bail on corruption charges at the Anti-Corruption Court in Kampala last week.

 Ms Among’s latest communication came days after an unverified list containing names of 30 MPs from NRM and Opposition was circulating on social media claiming that CID had summoned them to appear and answer corruption allegations charges.
Mr Ssenyonyi informed the Parliament that the brutal rearrest of his colleague and his continuous detention without trial was a concern.

 “We are glad that some steps are now being taken against corruption. That is a welcome move. We hope that this shall be broadened and not just narrowed to a few. However, it’s been five days since Hon Akamba was rearrested,” he said.

He added: “It bothers me, Hon Akamba belongs to the NRM and I lead this [Opposition] side, but it concerns me when the rule of law continues to be eroded because everybody will suffer. We are all affected”.
Ms Among in response informed the  Parliament that the embattled Akamba was yesterday being quizzed at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (CID) over fresh charges she didn’t divulge.

Police on June 11, quizzed and detained three legislators, including Akamba, Bunyole East MP Yusuf Mutembuli, and Lwengo District Woman MP Cissy Namujju over allegations of corruption.
The trio was kept at Kira Divisional Police Headquarters and was presented to the Anti-Corruption Court on June 13, where they were charged with corruption after the prosecution alleged that they on May 13 during the budgeting process demanded a 20 percent kickback from the chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) to have her entity’s budget enhanced.

They were remanded and returned to the same court on Friday where Akamba secured bail, which did not last even for an hour before gunmen brutally rearrested him in the court compound.
The remaining two legislators were returned this Monday and their case was committed to the High Court where they will be battling corruption charges.

A few days before they were arrested, President Museveni used the State of Nation Address to inform the country that he had gathered enough evidence on how a racket of officials from the Ministry of Finance was working with some officials from Parliament to steal public funds.

“I have been hearing stories about a racket from the Ministry of Finance to Parliament…..I have been hearing that from the Ministry of Finance, they are bringing accounting officers of ministries to come to Parliament to work with some people, to provide certain funds, provided they [officials] take a share. I didn’t believe it but now I have proof……..I am very sorry for them because they do not know what they are doing,” he said.

During the Tuesday NRM Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting,  he chaired at State House Entebbe, Mr Museveni, according to highly placed sources, reiterated his determination to fight against corruption, and commented on the violent re-arrest of Akamba.