KAMPALA – Abdu Katuntu, the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) insists he will continue with the public probe of the Central Bank over the controverisal sale of seven commercial banks, despite petitions by leader of opposition in Parliament (LOP) and FDC leadership that he steps down.
Katuntu who also doubles as Bugweri County MP said he is the substantive leader of Cosase until his successor is announced by the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga who has ruled that he finishes his job within a month before he can hand over to the in-coing Chairman Mubarak Munygwa.
Mr Katuntu was on Tuesday presiding over the committee meeting as part of an exit interface with officials from the bank of Uganda.
The MP said he was clearing the air following widespread media reports that his tenure had come to an end and that he was seeking an extension to complete the probe.
“As chairperson of this committee and deputy chairperson, we are not dying to be in these positions. We can only stay in these positions in accordance with the rules of procedure of Parliament. Nobody is stuck in an office against rules of procedure,” he said.+
The lawmaker emphasized that once the rules call upon them to quit, they will leave.
The committee is probing the central bank on alleged illegal decisions characterised by collusion and corruption, as cited by a forensic audit report into the closure of seven commercial banks, including Crane Bank, Teefe Bank, Green Land Bank and National Bank of Commerce among others.
Katuntu was last year dropped as chairperson by the FDC president Patrick Amuriat, who replaced him with Kawempe South MP Mubarak Munyagwa.
There has been a spate of conflict between the Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga and the opposition leadership in Parliament drawn from the Speaker’s recommendation to extend the probe by one month.
The Speaker, bases her decision for the extension on the need to allow the committee steered by Mr Katuntu write a report, but the opposition on the other hand want Katuntu’s tenure to end on January 13, 2019.
Meanwhile, Mr Katuntu stated that he is willing to follow the procedure and hand over to the new leadership the moment the speaker announces the changes.
Citing rule 157 (viii) of the Rules of Procedure of the 10th Parliament, Mr Katuntu said members designated to such positions shall be announced by the speaker in parliament upon which they assume leadership.
To this effect, Mr Katuntu said, “there is no member who has been designated by the respective party chiefs and his names announced in parliament for him to assume the office.”
Meanwhile, Rubaga North MP Moses Kasibante who was appointed deputise Mr Munyagwa accused Mr Katuntu and his deputy Anita Among (Bukedea, Independent) of plotting to cling to the chairmanship beyond the stipulated tenure of one and a half years.
But Mr Katuntu said the decision for his stay or exit rests with the speaker.
Last week, the Speaker said she was proud with COSASE, and that the probe on the central bank is a unique one, whose report should be left to the current leadership under Katuntu.