Dr. Monica Musenero, Minister of Science and Technology
Parliament has approved an additional Shs50bn for the manufacture of the Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing plant, despite the same deal being subject to investigation by the legislature.
The decision by MPs came after pleas from Muwanga Kivumbi (Butambala County) asked Parliament to halt the approval of Shs50.4Bn requested by State House for Presidential Scientific initiative on Epidemics (PRESIDE) to facilitate establishment of COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing plant.
Muwanga who co-authored the minority report with Gorreth Namugga (Mawogola South) and Ibrahim Ssemujju (Kira Municipality) reminded Parliament that the project is under investigation by Select Committee of Parliament on allegations of misappropriation of Shs3lBn.
He said it would be prudent to withhold approval of the funds until the investigation is concluded. More still, the funds were to be approved under State House contrary to the resolution of Parliament that instructed that a new vote is created under the Presidency sector for the Ministry of Science, Technology and innovation.
“The Ministry of Science and Technology is under Parliamentary investigation, this expenditure must be stayed until that investigation by parliament is done with, otherwise we breed impunity,” said Kivumbi.
However, when Deputy Speaker Anita Among put to vote whether Parliament should approve the minority report, the MPs rejected the recommendation to stay funding for the vaccine manufacturing plant but rather adopted report by majority Budget Committee.
It should be recalled that Among put in place an ad hoc Committee to investigate allegations of mismanagement of Shs3Bn by Monica Musenero, Minister of Science and Technology after a dossier by Yona Musinguzi (Ntungamo Municipality).
While appearing before the ad hoc Committee on Thursday, Musinguzi asked Parliament to prevail over the appointing authority to have Minister Musenero step down as investigations against her go on.
Musinguzi defended his request for suspension of Musenero pending investigations accusing Musenero of influencing the interdiction of some of the staff at the Ministry of Science and Technology, saying he is likely not to have enough information due to the influence peddling by Musenero.
Musinguzi accused Musenero of walking around Uganda Virus Research Institute and Uganda Industrial Research Institute warning staff against leaking any information or risk losing their jobs.
However, the Committee tasked Musinguzi to avail with the committee the alleged interdiction letters to the some of the staff of the ministry of science and Technology for further investigation.