12 February 2013

Uganda: Kadaga Orders PAC to Halt OPM Probe

Kampala — The Speaker of Parliament has ordered that further investigations by the Public Accounts Committee into the alleged swindled funds in the Office of the Prime Minister stops as court proceedings continue.

Rebecca Kadaga's decision is a development of a protest by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

The DPP wrote a protest note to the Speaker claiming that the investigations into the OPM matter breaches the sub judice rule because principal suspects like former principal accountant Geoffrey Kazinda and others are already committed to court.

Principally, sub judice means the particular matter [OPM] is under trial in court, and investigations by PAC would come in the way of court proceedings, especially with the utterances made.

The law allows the Speaker of Parliament to make a decision as to whether a matter is sub-judice or not.

The Rules of Procedure of the Parliament of Uganda Rule 64 (5) on sub-judice states that: 'The Speaker shall make a ruling as to whether a matter is sub-judice or not before debate or investigations can continue.'

Under sub-section 2 of the same rule, 'A matter shall be considered sub-judice if it refers to active criminal or civil proceedings and in the opinion of the Speaker, the discussion of such matter is likely to prejudice its fair determination.'

Over sh30bn is said to have been swindled from the prime minister's office, a matter that has since aroused action from the international donor community.

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