On Wednesday, January 18, 2023, the Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon. Anita Annet Among issued a directive for an audit probe into the performance of the Committee of Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) which the youthful first-time lawmaker and Nakawa West MP (NUP) Joel Ssenyonyi chairs.
In her communication, Speaker Among expressed disappointment with Cosase, a public accounts committee, for its poor performance regarding the scrutinizing of the reports and audited accounts of public entities is concerned.
Speaker Among, also the Bukedea District Woman MP, noted that Article 163(5) of the Constitution gives Parliament six months after the submission of the Auditor General’s report to debate and consider the report and take appropriate action.
She further told members that Parliament has already gone past this timeline and Cosase has only handled reports for four entities out of the 107 it is required to scrutinize. The speaker subsequently ordered an audit on the performance of Ssenyonyi’s Cosase. “We have invested lots of money in the committee [to perform its duties], but there are no results,” she added.
In the House, Ssenyonyi seemed to take the rebuke in good faith. “I appreciate your guidance, as committees, we should be able to do a lot more than we are doing challenges notwithstanding,” he said.
But in media interviews and social media posts after the speaker’s directive, Ssenyonyi made funny comments accusing the head of the legislative arm of government and the country’s number three of witch-hunt.
He further accused the speaker of blocking the tabling of the report into mismanagement at Uganda Airlines. He also juxtaposed his one-year performance at Cosase with Among’s tenure in the same accountability committee.
“Madam Speaker, when you led Cosase, for five months you handled one BoU report and Speaker Kadaga extended your term to finish it, at least for us we’ve done five entities in one year. I’m not sure what became of that BoU report! Mpozi nekilala, why don’t you want us to table the Airlines report?” Ssenyonyi fired back.
Madam Speaker,when you led COSASE, for 5 months you handled one BOU report&Speaker Kadaga extended your term to finish it,atleast for us we've done 5 entities in one yr.I'm not sure what became of that BOU report!
Mpozi nekilala,why don't you want us to table the Airlines report? pic.twitter.com/10wrZHUB7r
— Joel Ssenyonyi (@JoelSsenyonyi) January 18, 2023
Meanwhile, we’ve learnt that Ssenyonyi’s miscalculated utterance has since backfired after Abdu Katuntu, the Bugweri County Member of Parliament came out bare knuckle and lashed out at Troubled Nakawa West MP Joel Ssenyonyi for his comments about the COSASE report on Bank of Uganda.
Hon. Katuntu who also chaired the same committee in the last parliament alongside now speaker Anita Annet Among and investigated the hitherto rot in Bank of Uganda, advised Ssenyonyi to find time and read the Cosase on Bank of Uganda, how the probe was conducted and its impact on the current BoU after parliament passed its resolutions.
“It would be advisable to read the Committee report” Katuntu freely advised Ssenyonyi.
He thus, after asking Ssenyonyi to read the BoU committee report, also advised him to ask any current senior staff at BoU whether there have been reforms at the Bank arising from the resolutions of parliament when it adopted the committee recommendations.
“Please also, have a conversation with any CEO of any commercial bank about the workings of BoU Bank Supervision Directorate and relate it to the (our) committee report” he assured him.
To prove that his BoU report was full of substance, the Bugweri county MP also asked Ssenyonyi to know it that due to his good work, he was later appointed to head a vital committee that advised the president on key reforms in the Central Bank.
“You may wish to know that arising from that process, I, as chair was appointed to chair the Presidential Tripartite committee involving the IGG and Ministry of Finance to advise him on necessary reforms at BOU. That report has informed many decisions taken” he said adding that Ssenyonyi needs to understand that the Central Bank requires sober minds to be handled not populism.
“A central Bank is a delicate institution and cannot be run on a populist basis on social media.
I have taken the liberty to answer you because I was in charge of that process.
And I’m extremely proud of the work my colleagues and I did” he told him.
Ssenyonyi is currently swimming in troubled waters after the speaker decided to even adopt all uninvestigated AG reports handed to Cosase citing incompetence and laziness yet the committee is heavily funded. She has since instituted a probe against Cosase. Ssenyonyi has now taken his battle to social media posting every like a wounded buffalo.
Watch the space!