SQUEAKY BUM TIME as Speaker Among returns Karamoja iron sheets
Speaker Among has backtracked on her earlier statement that she didn’t commit any offence in receiving the iron sheets meant for the vulnerable communities in Karamoja, and instead used them to roof schools in Bukedea district, saying she will return the iron sheets to the Office of the Prime Minister.
The Speaker made the shocking pronouncement during the plenary sitting Wednesday, just a few hours after she defended Government Chief Whip, Denis Obua calling him clean because he was only given the iron sheets, and thus doesn’t qualify as a thief.
She said: “I have decided to buy 500 iron sheets and give it back. I have sent my personal assistant to take back the iron sheets to OPM. I have taken a personal responsibility but I must also thank the person who thought of Bukedea though it is also wrong thinking, but because I don’t want to be like I grabbed, I have decided to send them back.”
The Speaker defended her stance saying it is intended to uphold the integrity of Parliament and doesn’t want the scandal to taint the image of parliament.
Like we exclusively reported here https://redpepper.co.ug/iron-sheets-bonanza-exclusive-full-list-of-govt-officials-who-shared-opm-iron-sheets-leaks/128926/, Among received 500 pieces of Iron Sheets. They were picked using car registration number UG0582Z on 25 June, 2022 from OPM. Denis Matsiko is the driver who picked them.
The head teacher of Bukedea Comprehensive School (BCS) received them on her behalf. They were also witnessed by one John Mwanje who is the school’s store keeper.
John Baptist Nambeshe, Opposition Chief Whip thanked the Speaker for her gesture and asked fellow leaders who per took in the iron sheets to emulate the Speaker noting, “It is a show of deep remorse and I would say that the rest that are adversely mentioned in the saga of iron sheets meant for the vulnerable communities of Karamoja should follow suit. They should equally show remorse and not only be remorseful but also pick a leaf from you and even go an extra mile to double.”
He was backed by Medard Lubega (Busiro East) who thanked the Speaker but vowed not to forgive the officials at the Office of the Prime Minister for spearheading the diversion of relief items for Karamoja people.
However, the Speaker’s motive was brought into question when she forced Napak DWR, Faith Nakut to expunge her statement describing the beneficiaries of the iron sheets as thieves, saying the government officials who received the items were clueless of the fact that they were relief items.
“I want to thank you for your leadership especially on the issue of iron sheets. In Karamoja we believe in the justice of restoration, if you steal someone’s car you pay. So I would like to implore others that received it to refund it,” said Nakut.
Achia Remigio (Pian County) who also doubles as Chairperson of Karamoja Parliamentary Group reacted saying, “This is matter is a very sad one, but we thank you for your leadership we thank you for your integrity. We must get to the bottom of this because how can this be happening?”
Although Ibrahim Ssemujju (Kira Municipality) thanked the Speaker for being exemplary, he said the items for Karamoja will need to go to Karamoja and also wondered if the Prime Minister Robina Nabbanja, had been arrested by Police following the Presidential directive to arrest all the officials who stole Karamoja iron sheets.
“The leader of government business is missing. So I wanted to find out if she has already been arrested because she took 3000 iron sheets or she is writing a statement at the Police because even today, the main story is that ministers are going to begin recording statements. I want to know if the Premier hasn’t been arrested so we report to the Police that she is here because we have a civic duty to report people that Police are looking for,” said Ssemujju.
The Speaker replied saying Premier Nabbanja had notified her about her absence, denying allegations of her arrest and warned Ssemujju against labeling Nabbanja as a thief.
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