Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine has instructed Barclays Bank to return 29 million Shillings sent to his account on October 24th by the Parliamentary Commission. He becomes the eighth legislator to return the 29 million Shillings deposited on individual accounts of MPs for consultation on the proposed removal of presidential age limits.
In a letter dated October 27, 2017 addressed to the Manager, Barclays Bank Acacia Mall Branch, Kyagulanyi describes the credit transaction on his account as unauthorised. The transaction was made under Reference No. EFT CR 15341217 PARL 19102017.
"To that effect, I hereby instruct you to transfer the said amount of UGX 29,000,000 back to the creditor's account. Any fee for this transfer can be deducted from my savings account," reads part of Kyagulanyi's letter.
With this instruction, URN accessed another letter signed by Ronald Nyende, Barclays Acacia Mall Branch Operations Manager, confirming to Kyagulanyi the refund of the 29 million Shillings.
"We acknowledge that as per your request ref MP 111 to refund the 29,000,000 UGX sent to your account by the Parliamentary Commission on the 24/10/2017 under Reference No. EFT CR 15341217 PARL 19102017. We have reversed the 29,000,000 off your account," reads part of Nyende's letter dated 27th October 2017.
The Kyadondo East MP is now the eighth legislator to return the 29 million Shillings deposited on individual accounts of MPs for consultation on the proposed removal of presidential age limits. He is also the first Independent MP to return the money. The Tenth Parliament has a total of 66 Independent MPs.
Early this week, Opposition legislators led by Opposition Chief Whip Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda returned the cash to parliament's finance office. These included Soroti Woman MP Angelline Osegge, Butambala County MP Muwanga Kivumbi, Busongora North MP William Nzoghu, Busiro East MP Medard Lubega Seggona, Rubaga North MP Moses Kasibante and Masaka Municipality MP Mathias Mpuuga.
Led by Ssemujju, the opposition legislators described the expenditure as uncalled for, questioning why a Private Member's Bill is costing the taxpayer a lot of money when other bills processed by parliament are not accorded the same treatment.
The MPs maintained that they are provided with consultation money in their monthly allowances questioning why they are being given special money on the 'Age Limit' Bill.
On October 23, Parliament announced the release of 29 million Shillings for each Member of Parliament to help them consult on the now controversial age limit bill. This is out of a total budget of 13 billion Shillings allocated to help the 449 legislators consult on the Constitutional (Amendment) (No.2) Bill that seeks to among others, lift the cap on the presidential age.
Tabled by Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi, the constitutional amendment bill seeks to amend Article 102 (b) of the Constitution which caps the presidential age limit at 75 years. The bill is currently before parliament's Legal Committee for consideration.
This is not the first time MPs are returning money provided for consultation on different matters. In 2013, a section of MPs returned the five million Shillings that was given to each legislator to consult on the Marriage and Divorce Bill 2009.
This was after President Yoweri Museveni directed the clerk to Parliament to facilitate MPs to ease their movement in the constituencies as they consulted on the Bill. With a total of 386 MPs then, the government spent 1.9 billion shillings.
In 2011, also another section of legislators returned 20 million Shillings to the Parliament Commission which had been released to help them monitor NAADS programmes in their constituencies.