Joel Ssenyonyi’s Quest for Transparency Amidst Parliamentary Scandal

The Opposition Leader in Uganda’s Parliament, Joel Ssenyonyi, has reached out to the nation’s principal oversight and anti-corruption entities, urging them to delve into claims of significant corruption and misuse of office among parliamentary members.

Ssenyonyi’s call for comprehensive accountability has encountered a setback following revelations that he himself had claimed allowances for a five-day engagement in Nairobi, Kenya, amounting to $4,250 (around Shs16.3 million), despite his trip lasting only a day. If these allegations hold true, Ssenyonyi might end up answering the same type of queries he has posed to the parliamentary leadership currently under accusation.

Ssenyonyi disclosed that he had written to the Inspector General of Government, Beti Kamya; the Director of Public Prosecutions, Jane Frances Abodo; the Auditor General’s Office, and the Financial Intelligence Authority on March 20, citing information that has been extensively shared on social media and has subjected the leadership of the Parliament to intense scrutiny over the past fortnight.

At a media briefing held in his office at the Parliamentary Buildings, Ssenyonyi stated that his letters are part of a broader effort to ensure accountability for the billions of shillings in question.

His correspondence requests that the Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among; the Clerk to Parliament, Adolf Mwesige; and other parliamentary personnel address a series of concerns regarding their alleged involvement in financial misconduct. The concerns include potential embezzlement, misuse of parliamentary privileges, dubious service awards, and irregularities in staff hiring practices.

He also seeks clarification on whether a substantial contract purportedly connected to the Speaker was awarded following proper public procurement procedures.

The allegations have been circulating for about a month after being released by a civic group on social media under the hashtag #UgandaParliamentExhibition.

In his communication to the IGG, Ssenyonyi emphasized the serious nature of these allegations and their implications for democracy and public welfare, calling for a thorough and unbiased investigation as mandated by the Inspector General of Government Act.

On the same day, Beti Kamya announced her decision to withdraw from her previously stated intention to investigate corruption within Parliament, citing an ongoing audit by the Auditor General’s Office. Kamya confirmed receipt of Ssenyonyi’s letter, which had initially prompted her decision to investigate. She explained the collaborative nature of such investigations and the protocol of allowing the Auditor General’s Office to lead, with her office stepping in post-audit, all while maintaining respect for Parliament and commitment to their investigative duties.

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