The Leader of Opposition in Parliament (LOP), Betty Aol Ochan has defied the call by the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga to have the tenure of the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) extended to February 2019.
On Thursday, Kadaga told legislators that she had written to the LOP requesting her to allow for the changes in the committee leadership to be effected on the 20th February.
“I have written to her to allow that we change the committees on the 20th day of February to allow them time close the matter because the inquiry has reached a critical stage of investigation and changing the leadership will jeopardize effective conclusion of the inquiry,” Kadaga told the House.
However, while addressing the media during the end of year press briefing, Ochan noted that she has not yet received any letter from the Speaker as claimed.
“When Plenary started yesterday, I wasn’t in the House but I have asked for the Hansard to hear for myself what the Speaker said. However, I have learnt of the COSASE issue from my Party President and I have since asked my staff to avail me the letter from the Speaker but it is nowhere to be seen,” Ochan said.
“I haven’t received any letter to that effect from the Speaker’s office and unfortunately, she isn’t in office to find out from her,” Ochan added.
The LOP however noted that recently together with the opposition chief whip, Ibrahim Semujju Nganda, they approached the Speaker and informed her of their position on the issue.
“We told the Speaker that indeed we would love the current COSASE leadership of Abdu Katuntu and Anita Among to continue handling the Bank of Uganda Probe but as a select committee,” Ochan said.
“Our stand was that the committee should leave the work of Parliament to continue knowing that COSASE is an accountability committee that has a lot of business to handle but allow the team that is handling the BOU probe to continue as a special committee.”
She says that Katuntu and his team can carry on with the Bank of Uganda probe but only as a select committee, not as COSASE. The new leadership of Munyagwa should then be allowed to handle the outstanding business before COSASE, Ocan said.
She argued that the unending BOU probe should not stifle the smooth functioning of Parliament as well as operations of her office.
The current committee leadership of Abdul Katuntu and Anita Among is serving for two and half years and its tenure was meant to expire on January 16th next year but according to the speaker, these will stretch up to February 20th 2019 to allow them conclude with their current work.
In August this year, FDC President Patrick Amuriat fired both Katuntu and Among replaced them with Mubarak Munyagwa and Moses Kasibante respectively but the new appointees couldn’t take office as the tenure of the current team was still on.
The Speaker explained that by changing the committee’s leadership now, it might jeopardize the effective conclusion of the bank probe.