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Banks Were On Notice to Withhold MPs COVID-19 Payout

AF Mpanga and Company Advocates on reportedly sent letters to all banks urging them to halt payment of 20 shillings to MPs banking with them.
29 Apr 2020 17:54
The afternoon plenary session Chiared by Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga.

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Legal representatives in a petition challenging the COVID-19 funding to members of Parliament had put banks on notice not to release the money to the intended beneficiaries. 

Each Member of parliament received an allocation of 20 million Shillings to enable them to participate in activities to control the spread of coronavirus disease-COVID-19. The money was part of the 304 billion Shillings Supplementary Budget that was approved by parliament on April 4, 2020, to facilitate Uganda’s COVID-19 response. 

 

But the allocation was challenged by Ntungamo Municipality Member of Parliament Gerald Karuhanga and his Erute South counterpart Jonathan Odur who specifically contested the manner in which the money was approved. Karuhanga said that Parliament breached its rules of procedure when it fused the money in question into the report of the Budget Committee without the Consent of the Committee members. 

The team secured a court injunction last week halting the expenditure. However, according to the speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, the money had already been processed by the Parliamentary commission and deposited on the individual MP’s accounts by the time the order, issued by Justice Esther Nambayo, was delivered.   

But the team from AF Mpanga and Company Advocates reportedly sent letters to all commercial banks urging them to halt payment of 20 million Shillings to the legislators pending the final judgement in the matter, which was issued early today. 

Today High court judge Michael Elubu ordered all Members of Parliament who benefited from the funding to deposit the money with Parliamentary Commission, the District or COVID-19 National Task Force. 

Jonathan Odur, one of the petitioners told URN that the court ruling implied that the banks were not allowed to disburse the money. He added that although the order was specific to the Parliamentary Commission, it also applied to whoever the money was channelled to before getting to the final recipient. 

//Cue in; “The banks are…

Cue out…barred from acting.”//   

A source from one of the Banks told URN that the order was late. By the time the court pronounced itself, a number of legislators had withdrawn the money. “We were served, but we got it on Wednesday and it could not be implemented immediately,” the source from a corporate relations department said.    

Harriet Kasirye, the Head of Marketing and Corporate Relations at ABSA Bank told URN that they would have complied if they had received the court order in time. 

Solomon Muyita, the Spokesperson of the Judiciary says that although the court did not serve the banks, the petitioners moved the order to the banks because that worked in their interest. “When you go to court, you get an order, and it is incumbent upon you to ensure that the order is passed to whoever is responsible.”

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