Deputy Speaker Among asked MP Yona Musinguzi to proceed with tabling documentary evidence and among the documents he tabled is the budget of 31 billion Shillings that was appropriated to PRESIDE. But according to Musinguzi, the money was reportedly channeled to different individual scientists who have allegedly denied receiving the funds.
Ntungamo Muncipality MP Yona Musinguzi has tabled before the House documentary evidence seeking to implicate the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Monica Musenero regarding the utilization of funds meant to facilitate the COVID-19 vaccine development.
This follows the MP’s
verbal accusations made on the floor of parliament last week in which Musinguzi demanded for accountability of funds so far released towards the
development of a vaccines under the Presidential Scientific Initiative on
Scientific Initiative on Epidemics-PRESIDE is a brainchild of Yoweri Kaguta
Museveni is led by Dr Musenero, who was a Presidential Advisor on Epidemics at
the time it was unveiled.
“Madam Speaker I want
this House to recall, that in 2020, a certain group of scientists convinced the
President that they could produce a vaccine for COVID-19. And indeed, they went
ahead and drew big sums of money. In 2020 they drew 20 billion under the
Presidential Scientific Initiative on Epidemics-PRESIDE,” Musinguzi then said.
reported that during the current year, Dr Musenero also received 50 billion
Shillings after convincing the President that she would ensure the production
of a vaccine.
These statements by
the MP last week prompted the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among to
direct Musinguzi present documentary evidence about the matter and she also
directed Minister Musenero to appear before Parliament on Tuesday to provide a
response and also provide the House with the status of the vaccine development.
However, the Minister
did not turn up as scheduled, instead asking Parliament through the Minister of State
for Finance- General Duties, Henry Musasizi to appeal for more time on her
behalf, so that she presents her statement on Thursday.
In her absence,
Deputy Speaker Among asked MP Musinguzi to proceed with the tabling of
documentary evidence and among the documents he tabled is the budget of 31
billion Shillings that was appropriated to PRESIDE. According to Musinguzi,
this money was then channeled to different individual scientists who have allegedly
denied receiving the funds.
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parliament that amidst this questionable expenditure, PRESIDE is now seeking an
additional budget of 50 billion Shillings towards the vaccine manufacture.
Musinguzi further reported that in: “....Supplementary
Expenditure for financial year 2021/2022, they are writing to the Auditor
General’s office to finance recurrent and development activities under various
institutions. In that demand, there is funding for vaccine manufacture
(PRESIDE), 50.4 billion.”
He also cited the
special audit report on covid-19 related funding by the Auditor General in
which he queried activities of PRESIDE.
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Also tabled by MP Musinguzi
is a letter dated 15th March, 2021 authored by OO Obongo, the
Permanent Secretary, Ministry Science and Technology, writing to Dr. Musenero,
then Senior Presidential Advisor on Epidemics to give accountability for 31
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Musinguzi also asked
the Deputy Speaker to avail him security, saying that last week he was trailed
by unknown people after raising the matter for the first time.
In response, Budadiri
West MP Nathan Nandala Mafabi raised a procedural issue asking that the matter
is referred to the Public Accounts Committee -PAC Central Government to go
through the documents and report back to Parliament in the next three days.
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Speaker Among declined the request saying that she had seen the PAC
Chairperson, Medard Lubega Sseggona interested in the issue. She then directed
the Minister of Internal Affairs Gen. Kahinda Otafire to avail MP Musinguzi
Among also noted that
she would appoint a select committee on Wednesday with terms of reference to
consider the matter.
Igara West MP, Gaffa Mbwatekamwa also appealed that
the select committee also investigates different presidential initiatives.
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Busiro East MP, Medard Lubega Ssegona said that a
lot had been said about Minister Musenero in her absence including matters touching her family. He appealed that Dr. Musenero is provided an opportunity
to defend herself.
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Deputy Speaker Among then formally moved a motion
for setting up a select committee, which was approved by the MPs. She
emphasized that the terms of reference would be provided on Wednesday.