High Court orders on COVID-19 Fight
High Court orders legislators to return Shs20 million. FILE PHOTO

Civil Division of the High Court in Kampala orders legislators to return the Shs20 million meant for COVID-19 fight

The Civil Division of the High Court in Kampala has directed Members of Parliament who benefited from the controversial shs10bn part of the Shs3004bn supplementary budget, meant for COVID-19 fight to return it.

Delivering his ruling on Wednesday, April 29, 2020, Justice Micheal Eluba of Civil Division of the High Court ruled that legislators must return the money either through the Parliamentary Commission, District Task Force or the National Taskforce.

Legislators representing special interest groups were ordered to return the money to the National Task Force led by Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda.

Reacting to the court ruling, Ntugamo Municipality Member of Parliament, Gerald Karuhanga said they are much delighted on this matter because the court ruled in their favour.

“We are glad that court has agreed with us and the court issued that this money must be returned,” Karuhanga said.

This followed a petition filed by legislators Gerald Karuhanga of Ntugamo Municipality and his colleague Jonathan Odur of Erute South who ran to court to challenge the decision made by Members of Parliament to allocate sh20m to MP from the money meant to fight coronavirus.

“I believe this is a way for the people of Uganda as well as the applicants who were representing the people of Ntugamo and the people of Uganda to see that this money which has been wrongly appropriated should not be used for personal expenditure by any member of Parliament, it must be used for purposes of fighting COVID-19,” David Mpanga, petitioners lawyer said.

The money in question is part of the supplementary budget of 3004bn shillings that Parliament passed on 4 April 2020, to help the government in its fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

Gerald Karuhanga and Jonathan Odur soon after the ruling returned the money to the Parliament Commission.

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni in his Tuesday address regarding coronavirus in the country mentioned that the decision was taken by legislators to allocate part of COVID-19 money to themselves as “bad planning” saying the decision is now associated with both legal and moral issues.

“It is unacceptable for MPs to give themselves money for personal use when the country is in crisis. It is unacceptable to me and to the NRM (the party he leads).”

High Court orders on COVID-19 Fight
High Court orders legislators to return Shs20 million. FILE PHOTO

Museveni said that in a meeting he had with the Speaker Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, he told her that they have entered a trap, and the only way to get out of it is to return the money to mitigate the damage they have caused to themselves.

“You entered into a trap and you should get out of it. And the best way to get out of the trap is not to spend it on yourself, take the money because now you have got involved and donate it to the District Taskforce. I told the Speaker to take the money and donate it to the district task force.”