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Coronavirus: High Court blocks issuing of Shs. 20 Million to MPs for COVID-19 sensitization

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Bank Of Uganda and Finance Ministry have defied High Court orders blocking Parliamentary Commission from releasing the Shs 10bn to MPs until the hearing of the application challenging such.

While appropriating money in the shs304 billion supplementary budget to different sectors involved in the fight against the deadly coronavirus pandemic, Shs10 billion was allocated to Parliament, raising questions in the public.

According to the order issued by civil division high court Judge Ester Nambayo, the said funds should not be released until the April, 29th and that if any MP has already received the money, it should not be used it until then.

Civil division high court Judge Ester Nambayo

On Monday, Ntungamo Municipality MP, Gerald Karuhanga and Erute South legislator Jonathan Odur petitioned the court seeking to halt the Parliamentary Commission from paying Shs 10 billion to MPs to fight Covid-19.

The petitioners argue that Parliament breached the parliamentary rules of procedure in passing the Shs 10 billion that is to be dished out to the legislators.

Ntungamo Municipality MP, Gerald Karuhanga

They say the money was just smuggled into the report by the budget committee chairperson Amos Lugoloobi without the consent of the committee members.

However, speaker Kadaga says the court order came in after Parliament had already disbursed the money and indeed several MPs have today acknowledged receipt of this money.

Close to 17,000 people have signed an online petition challenging the allocation of Shs10 billion to members of Parliament (MPs), to fight the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Rebecca Kadaga, Speaker of Parliament of Uganda

The petition, is spearheaded by Ms Sarah Kiyingi, the former state minister for Internal Affairs.

The petition has so far received 17,000 out of the 25,000 required signatures

Ugandans protested from their homes on Monday night with cooking pots and jerry cans against a parliament decision to grant MPs 10 billion Ugandan shillings UGX (€2.4 million euros) as the country scrambles to bring the Covid-19 under control.

The “Black Monday” protest at 8pm local time (6pm GMT) was scheduled  after a dusk-to-dawn curfew to contain the disease. The banging sounds echoed the daily rounds of applause that have been fired from various cities around the world in tribute to frontline health workers.

Ms Kiyingi says that whereas she does not doubt the role MPs can play in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, she believes that the allocation is misplaced. 

The petition is addressed to President Museveni, Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, and Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda. 

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