DEPUTY Speaker Jacob Oulanyah and Deputy Attorney General Fred Ruhindi yesterday clashed over the interpretation of the subjudice rule in relation to the interdicted OPM Principal Accountant, Geoffrey Kazinda, appearing before Parliament.
The matter came up duringplenary after PublicAccounts Committeeboss, Kasiano Wadri, ina partial report on thescam in the OPM saidthe committee is gettinglimited in its work sincethey can’t interviewKazinda.Wadri said out of the over70 OPM officials interviewedso far, 60 of themblame Kazinda for themess and therefore PAC’sreport would be biasedif Kazinda’s side isn’t heard.
Ruhindi told Parliament that it would be illogical to arraign Kazinda before PAC since the court process has already started. “If a suspect has already been charged, investigations completed and the trial about to begin, it would be interference in the court process to have him paraded before another body,” Ruhindi said.
He added that the House needs to pay more attention to the broad terms of subjudice, Ruhindi said it would be unfair to have the interdicted accountant face another body. The AG’s submission raised questions as to why former National Social Security Fund (NSSF) boss, David Chandi Jamwa appeared before Parliament yet his case had kicked off in Court.
“Jamwa was arraigned before the committee; unless you are saying that the rules of this House are applied selectively and only affect Jamwa,” West Budama South MP, Jacob Oboth Oboth, said.
Ruhindi attempted to explain that Jamwa’s case was different, prompting the Speaker to overrule him. The Speaker ruled that by Kazinda appearing before the committee would not be a matter of subjudice since the committee would only be interested in getting information from him, not debate.
“The rule of subjudice affect Parliament when the Speaker holds discussions on the matter, but inquiries by the committee are not captured in this rule 64,” the Speaker said. Saying the committee is only going to ask questions, Oulanyah said Kazinda be brought to the committee so as to find out the truth in the OPM mess.
“I have ruled on the matter and if you have any challenge you need a substantive motion over it!” Oulanyah ruled.