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MPs Querry UGX 7 Billion FIA Regional Meeting

Members of Parliament have been left astonished by a Shillings 7.6 billion budget request by the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) to host a week long regional meeting.
Officials from the Financial Intelligence Authority led by the Executive Director Sydney Asubo appearing before the Finance Committee.

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Members of Parliament have been left amazed by a request of 7 billion shillings by the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) to host a regional meeting.

The request was today presented to parliament’s Finance Committee by the Authority’s Executive Director Sydney Asubo who had appeared before the committee chaired by Rubanda East MP Henry Musasizi to defend FIA’s policy statement for the coming financial year 2019/2020.

FIA has been allocated 13.29 billion shillings in the coming financial year 2019/2020 up from the 12.29 billion provided in current financial year 2018/2019.  

Asubo’s presentation attracted queries from MP when he made a request for the funds for organization costs of a week-long Council of Ministers meeting of Eastern and Southern African Anti- Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) which Uganda is set to host in September.

The purpose of the 18 member country group is to combat money laundering by implementing the Financial Action Task Force recommendations. ESAAMLG enables regional factors to be taken into account in the implementation of anti-money laundering measures.

MPs Charles Illukor representing Kumi County, UPDF representative Capt. Susan Lakot and Pakwach Woman MP Jane Pacuto Avur were unconvinced that the meeting would require such an exorbitant amount.

When they quizzed Asubo on the breakdown of the budget he said that the specifics of the budget would be provided by the organizing committee pending confirmation on attendance numbers and venue.

Asubo who was led before the State Minister for Finance in-charge of Planning, David Bahati who promised to avail the committee with a detailed budget later. He said the figure had been arrived at basing on previous meetings organized by other member countries.

The meeting this year is to be hosted by Eswatini while the one last year was hosted by the Seychelles.

Musasizi further quizzed Asubo on why the government should pay for such an expensive occasion and yet there were critical areas that the Authority requires funding like staff recruitment.

Asubo noted that Uganda as a member of ESAAMLG had an obligation to host the meeting and failure to do so would attract sanctions from the world governing body the Financial Action Task Force.

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Bahati asked for more time from the committee to allow him make a presentation about the upcoming event and budget details. 

FIA was established by the Parliament of Uganda to monitor, investigate, and stop money laundering, illicit financial flows and terrorism financing in the economy.

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