PARLIAMENT | The chairperson of the parliamentary Committee of Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase), Abdu Katuntu, returned from recess wearing frustration and anger on his sleeves and did not waste time to let it known.
The Bugweri County MP said he is too busy to fight for the leadership of Cosase and has no time fielding questions about reports his committee failed to file after probes.
“When our time elapses, we shall go. We aren’t going to rush anything, if our term elapses, we shall go. This thing isn’t about me or us, that decision will be taken by the leaders of the opposition and Parliament and I just don’t want to get involved in it because I am a busy man,” Katuntu said.
He was speaking Tuesday after meeting with officials from Bank of Uganda while addressing journalists at Parliament saying that when the time of Cosase elapses, they will pack up their bags and leave for the new team to take charge.
Last week, Lubaga North MP Moses Kasibante, who is deputise on the committee when the tenure of the current team elapses on January 13, accused Katuntu and his team of failing to live up to their mandate.
In his interview with NTV last week, Kasibante alleged that Cosase has over eight reports it has discussed but the Committee members haven’t sat to make findings and recommendations.
“There is NAADs, Rural Electrification Agency, National Medical Stores. Those are billions of taxpayers’ money. They have spent money wastefully themselves as investigating these agencies, but they have stood on them. Even if the current leadership is to continue, it will take about August, we can’t continue under that pretext,” he told NTV.
Kasibante also lashed out at critics opposed to his taking over as Cosase vice chairperson on grounds that he has no experience to grill public officials, pointing out that Katuntu himself was once in his position and earned experience on job.
“I have served under Katuntu’s leadership, he is a man of great experience but we must understand how he got that experience, he was given a chance to begin with. There is when he was a junior, he served under so many experienced members. So you can’t say you are going to compare me to him who hasn’t even got a single hour to serve with somebody who has served for over ten years,” Kasibante said.
When journalists asked Katuntu to respond to accusations of failing to produce reports before Parliament, the legislator turned the muzzle of his anger on them instead, accusing the members of the Fourth Estate of failing to fact check information at their disposal and embarked on listing his achievements as Cosae chairperson.
“The problem is you journalists, you are reporters of this institution you know who has been producing reports or not. Are you aware that we produced a report on UNRA? Aren’t you aware that we produced a report on National Forest Authority, UBC, National Housing Corporation? Aren’t you aware we produced a report on the Shs6Bn oil handshake?” he asked.
“What can I do? The reports are there, they were adopted by the House, you people were there, you are the witnesses and yet you are asking me that question. When you produce a report, you lay it on the floor, you produce it and the reports are there”
Katuntu wondered how government could we have recovered money from the Chinese without a report. He also said the government had recovered land worth $10 million belonging to public broadcaster UBC, saying the land title was even presented on the floor of Parliament.
“So what is this all about? But I don’t want to get involved in that sort of discussion, I don’t and please don’t ask any question like that again,” he said..
Although in a video recording from India, the incoming Cosase chairperson Mubaraka Munyagwa cried foul, accusing those opposed to his new appointment of frustrating his efforts to serve his country and threatened to spill secrets behind the Cosase debacle.
Mubaraka said: “I have been silent because I am out of the country, not because I don’t feel the pain from inside. It isn’t because I am not a Ugandan, I am a Ugandan who has got the right to serve my country. Is it the first investigation on Bank of Uganda, I thought I had left these battles in KCCA.”
FDC Spokesman Ibrahim Ssemujju blamed Ugandans for failing to see beyond Munyagwa the activists and said he should be given time to disprove his haters.
Ssemujju said: “We don’t have it in our rules that the Speaker as the head of the institution has the powers to change the tenure of the committee. I have worked with Munyagwa, he is going to disprove all the doubting Thomases, let him be given the opportunity to serve, they will see.”