By Spy Uganda
Kampala: The seemingly panicky Speaker of Parliament who is sitting on tenterhooks due to the pressure raised by her rivals fighting day and night to kick her out of parliament’s speakership has rushed to the national communications regulator the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) after being exposed of using her office to dubious mint billions without considering the country’s staggering economy.
The genesis of it all comes from an article previously published by an online newspaper Capital Times, which disclosed that Speaker Kadaga & confidant Hon. Okupa dubiously spent over US $764,000 (Shs2.8 BN) In-less than 2 years in travels abroad, something that actually left a couple of Ugandans including fellow legislators wondering how ruthless the duo are to their poor country.
Now, according to the letter issued by UCC addressed to the managing editor Capital Times, Kadaga doesn’t deny chopping all that huge sum of money as reported but accuses the journalist of not getting her side to know how she “wasted” the said money that is in billions.
“The complainants allege that you made a false, biased, and defamatory statement against them whereas you never accorded them an opportunity to share their perspective on the subject matter,” partially reads UCC’s letter.
According to Capital Times, “In 16 months, the Speaker of Parliament along with her extremely close confidant, Hon. Elijah Okupa the Member of Parliament representing Kasilo County, Serere District, racked up a combined 986 days in travels while operations in the 9th and 10th parliament remain obscure as was witnessed in the media about the contested recruitment of the Chief Internal Auditor alas a story for another day, a risk Parliament would not afford to take since hiring an externally recruited official not accustomed to the accounting anomalies would lead to the discovery of the creativity that has been ongoing and such huge and unexplained travel expenses would have drawn attention from the watchful eye of the expert.”
When contacted for a comment about the whole saga, the managing editor Capital Times Hannington Mbabazi revealed thus;
“I have evidence over this story. The problem for Kadaga is a lot of documents have since been stolen from her office.. that’s why she has since sacked all her handlers. Now they want to squeeze my balls to tell them my source of the story….coz even when Abdul Salim head UCC Legal called me yesterday, he was just asking my source of the story, not whether my story is false” Mr. Mbabazi told Independent Online Journalists Association of Uganda (Indoja-U) President Andrew Irumba on phone on Friday morning. (Indoja) is an Association for on-line journalists under which Capital Times is a member.
Furthermore, UCC’s letter tasks Capital Times’ editor to give in his response to the arguments raised within three days.
“Speaker Kadaga doesn’t deny that she traveled and spent the said money in her argument, her problem is where we got such information, now that’s surprising as a journalist,” Mbabazi added.
Capital Times reported that via “its analysis of the information obtained indicate that, in less than 16 months from 2017 – 2019, Hon. Elijah Okupa was on the plane 21 times while Rt. Hon. Kadaga made 20 flights under the guise of CPA Executive Committee meetings.”
“Our investigative team was able to contact the CPA Headquarters Secretariat (www.cpahq.org) at Richmond House, London and they noted that “CPA has always paid for travel costs for the normal activities organized by member states, however, Executive Committee (ExCo) attending ExCo meetings have always been paid travel by the association while the host country would pay the accommodation and per diem to the visiting teams. For the branch meetings, the association pays for all the expenses.” This begs the question on whether the money that has been always reimbursed by the CPA to these parliamentary members has been reflected on the Parliamentary Commission accounts or creative accounting practices are being used like how the IGG recently discovered in recent audits,” the publication further exposed.
It added, “Further scrutiny of the annual reports from CPA Headquarters indicate that a “total of £223,686 [and]£304,048 was reimbursed to the 34 parliaments as of [2018 and 2019 respectively] for the travel and accommodation of the ExCom members.”