Rebecca Kadaga the speaker of Parliament has halted with immediate effect the on-going investigations by the Public Accounts committee into the financial impropriety in the office of the Prime Minister.
The letter written to MP Kasiano Wadri the PAC chairperson notes that the on-going probe that started in November last year is subjudice.
Rebecca in her letter dated 8th February 2013 notes that some of the witness appearing before the committee are either accused persons or they are going to be used as state witnesses before court.
The speaker quotes the provisions of rules 64 (2,3&5) of the Parliament’s rules of procedure which stipulates that any matter before courts of law will be regarded as subjudice if the contents of the matter are being discussed in Parliament.
Wadri says they have collected all the evidence they got from the witnesses and will wait to see how far court shall go with the matter.
Wadri says the letter came to them at a time when they had almost finished their inquiry. PAC was supposed to go to the field in the North and North East to the project areas where the money was spent.
The speaker before Parliament today stated that her decision hinged on a letter she received from the Director Public Prosecutions Richard Butera dated 6th February.
The DPP cites the New vision story on OPM drivers who denied taking fuel worth six billion shillings. These include Salim Sebyala and David Muhigi and others.
The DPP states that the drivers mentioned are witnesses in the case before the chief Magistrate Anti-Corruption division her worship Irene Akankwasa and are set to appear on the 16th of April. However, the DPP has made an application to court to have the hearing date readjusted to a nearer date.
The DPP also notes that Katumwa Hussein the director New Caltex Ntinda petrol station is accused number four in the same case.
Butera adds that the witnesses and accused persons appearing before the committee for the same case which is already before court is prejudicial.
He states that the witnesses are giving the same evidence they are going to give to court and the accused persons’ testimony before the committee will greatly affect the case.
Butera notes that so far eight witnesses have so far testified and the case is adjourned to 14th and 15th February for prosecution to call their last four witnesses.
The DPP also cites the handwriting experts’ report that they have as part of their evidence is being discussed. Butera also cites a letter from MP Paul Mwiru the Vice chairperson PAC dated 28th January to Grace Akullo asking for the same report.
The Uganda prisons also informed the DPP that PAC had summoned Geoffrey Kazinda the former Principal accountant to also appear before them.
He requested the speaker not to continue with the probe and let it be left to court.
Wadri says he cannot rule out undue interference considering when the committee started its work in November last year it was confronted with the sub judice law.
However, he requested the clerk to the committee to write to the director legal services who advised them on the way forward. The Speaker then upon not finding grounds of subjudice advised that they go ahead with the probe.
The public accounts committee was carrying out an independent investigation into the financial impropriety in the office of the Prime Minister. The investigations stemmed from an audit report October 2012 by the office of the auditor general.