Angered by a death threat against his grandchildren from Christine Bako Abia, former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi has threatened to take action against the Arua Woman MP.
In 2011, as debate on alleged bribery in the oil sector raged, Abia uttered emotive remarks about the former premier’s grandchildren. Mbabazi was one of the senior government officials alleged to have accepted bribes from oil companies to influence the award of contracts.
Speaking in Parliament on Thursday, during debate on the investigation report by the house ad hoc committee that investigated the allegations, Mbabazi warned he would take action against the MP. Also accused were his cabinet colleagues Sam Kutesa (Foreign Affairs) and Hilary Onek (Relief, Disaster Preparedness).
Chaired by Michael Werikhe, the seven-member committee investigated the allegations raised by Gerald Karuhanga (Youth MP, Western) during a heated session on October 11, 2011. Initially, the committee was given 30 days to report its findings but eventually took two years. Its report clears all the officials of any wrongdoing but admits the committee was incapable of establishing the truth.
Mbabazi said: “I recall vividly during the debate that day. The allegation against me was from WikiLeaks, that I had been eyeing a bribe of $200m eyeing a bribe, and… Honourable [Christine] Abia stood up and said that my grandchildren would be executed, punished for the crimes I had committed, for eyeing a bribe!”
Mbabazi added: “This is a Member of Parliament, really?”
He said he would pursue the matter in another forum, which was understood to mean in court.
“Those allegations which were investigated were that people [Kutesa and Onek] received money from banks and amounts specified what was the allegation against me that prompted Abia to threaten my grandchildren with death in this honourable House what?” Mbabazi asked.
The estranged NRM secretary general urged MPs to jealously guard their reputations and avoid making false allegations.
“You know, you people [MPs] have built your reputations, each of us here has got a reputation, but someone comes out of the blue and makes baseless falsehoods,” Mbabazi complained, adding that in “civilized countries” such behaviour is not tolerated.
“I am glad that the committee found that all the allegations against me were not only falsehoods, but actually imaginary because I have no relationship with any of the things that were said.”
Mbabazi pledged to use his membership on the house committee on Rules, Discipline and Privileges to push for the amendment of the rules of procedure on making allegations in the House.
“I want to undertake before you that we shall discuss this matter with a view to amending our rules… ” Mbabazi said.
The Werikhe committee said it failed to get critical evidence to pin the accused ministers largely due to the complexity of the investigation, bureaucratic hitches in government, limitations of a parliamentary investigation overseas, financial constraints, the limited participation of bedridden MP Hussein Kyanjo and disruption by the Constitutional court.
The committee members also noted that bribery being a discreet crime and in this case having allegedly been committed in several countries, and the accused being high- ranking government officials, there was need for sophisticated criminal investigative capabilities, which Parliament didn’t possess.
“Parliament, on its own, could not easily and expeditiously access the other countries’ institutions without going through other organs of the executive, namely the ministry of Foreign Affairs, Uganda’s missions abroad and the DPP [Director of Public Prosecutions],” the report states, noting that some of the office bearers in these institutions had been implicated in the bribery allegations.
Jacob Oboth (West Budama South, NRM): I think we need to raise the bar of debates and the allegations that we make [because] we have a duty to protect the image of this House.
Abdu Katuntu (Bugweri, FDC): Why can’t we address ourselves to the issues raised by the petitioners and… any lawyer will tell you that if you fail to get a conviction, it does not mean that the crime was not committed. It could be [because of] bad prosecution, it could be [because] of the witnesses who turned hostile. How can you turn on an MP who is executing his duties diligently? Why do you want to hang me due to bad prosecution?
James Kakooza (Kabula, NRM): “If someone can bring a document containing huge sums of money and it’s not authenticated, we are headed for trouble. I want you [speaker] to help this country and say that every document being laid on the table must reveal the source and must be authenticated otherwise, we are in politics, some people have their own agenda and we shall get problems.”
Betty Nambooze (Mukono municipality, DP): … Justice delayed is justice denied… but this report will be referred to by our grandchildren.
Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah ruled that “no decision” would be taken on the report, on grounds that the matters therein had been overtaken by events. He was referring to new developments in the oil sector, particularly oil- related legislation.
Source : The Observer