Members of the opposition led by Nandala Mafabi have agreed by consensus to return the five million shillings given to them over the weekend to consult constituents about the Marriage and Divorce Bill.
In a three hour meeting held at Parliament this morning, Mafabi says they are going to make drafts to be presented to the Parliamentary commission. This will then be presented to the treasury consolidated fund.
He made a passionate appeal to all members of the opposition who were not present in the meeting to return the money by next week Tuesday.
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Last week Mafabi revealed on the floor of Parliament that MPs were going to be paid five million shillings for consultation on the Bill.
Rebecca Kadaga claimed she had not seen the letter giving the Presidential payment directive and some MPs asked him to table evidence.
In the letter President Yoweri Museveni directed Kadaga to ask for 1.9 billion shillings from Finance for purposes of consultation.
The President warned that if they do not agree to get the money, he would be forced to withdraw the Bill.
Mafabi says since the National Resistance Movement (NRM) caucus sat yesterday and agreed to withdraw the Bill, so should they also withdraw the money.
The LOP says there is going to be a list of those MP’s who are returning the money. Apart from Busongoro North MP Nzoghu William, today Isaiah Sasaga, the Budadiri East MP also returned the money bringing the total amount to 15 million shillings including that of Muhammed Nsereko, the NRM MP Kampala Central.
Nambooze Betty the Mukono Municipality MP says by Tuesday the money shall be handed over to the commission in a group.
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This is the second time that members of the opposition agree to return money given to them by Parliament. In January 2011, government gave members of Parliament 20 million shillings as facilitation to monitor the National Agricultural Advisory Services Programmes in their respective constituencies.
However, the return of the money remained a contentious issue especially among MPS from the Forum for Democratic Change with some MP’s being threatened with disciplinary action after refusing to return the money.
Among them was the shadow Finance Minister Geoffrey Ekanya who today said return of the money should be mandatory adding that MP’s can also make losses. He also wondered why the eleven ex-officials were given money since they do not have constituencies to consult.