Covid-19: Museveni’s letter that deepened conflict with parliament over Shs10b allocation

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President Museveni has accused Parliament of usurping the powers of the Executive by allocating MPs Shs20m towards the fight against Coronavirus.

In a letter dated April 28, the President said it was “morally reprehensible” for MPs to spend part of the supplementary budget before it had been approved.

On April 8, the House passed a Shs923b Supplementary Budget for Covid-19, allocating themselves Shs10b of the money.

“First of all, it is unconstitutional. Both in logic and law, it cannot be correct that the Head of Government, the President, through the Ministers responsible, submits a plan for expenditure to Parliament, and, then, Parliament reshuffles the priorities and creates its own against the President” The President’s letter reads in part.

He accused Parliament of reshuffling government priorities without his authority.

“For parliament to unilaterally reshuffle the priorities of the government, it means that there is no need to have the president and the executive branch of government,”

The President said he had held a meeting with the Speaker and agreed on guidelines on how the MPs should spend the money and also file accountabilities for it, only to learn that it had reached the legislators’ accounts.

“How could that happen? Isn’t a supplementary expenditure part of the Finance Bill? Isn’t the president supposed to, first, assent or otherwise, to that bill before it becomes law? Who, then, authorised the expenditure according to a Bill that had not become law? Is that not illegal?” he asked.

The President also questioned the MPs’ intention of buying and delivering items to the district task force.

“Are MPs the purchasing officer of the State of Uganda?”

“My decision, therefore, by copy of this letter, I am requesting the Auditor General to audit this aspect, where the MPs became the ‘Purchasing’ Officers of the State and see whether their efforts were legal. I ask him to conclude it in four weeks so that we do not have to wait indefinitely” Mr Museveni said.

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