Recently, while appearing before the Parliament’s public Accounts Committee (PAC) the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Executive Director Jennifer Musisi Semakula accused some members of the committee of extortion.
According to Ms Musisi, accounting officers of various public institutions like the KCCA have fallen victim to wayward PAC MPs, who demand bribes in exchange for shielding the public officers from scrutiny in respect to their institution’s accountability issues.
The PAC is an important arm of the legislature, charged with following up on accountability in the public domain, that is why its chairperson and his/her deputy are by law and design, supposed to belong to the Opposition.
To rub it in, the framers of our Constitution, in the spirit of presenting a Uganda that desired to belong to the ‘civilised world’ deemed it fit that in order to effect accountability, ruling party MPs were not the best suited for the two top jobs of PAC, for obvious reasons.
This could possibly explain why PAC chairperson Alice Alaso was at pain to admit that her members are involved in acts of a criminal nature; she passed the buck back to the accounting officers, accusing them of attempting to bribe the MPs in order to modify damaging reports.
But the ping pong between Ms Alaso and Ms Musisi notwithstanding, there is a general feeling that neither the PAC members nor the accounting officers in public institutions are ‘angels’; it is believed most of them cannot explain their acquired wealth vis-a-viz their salaries or emoluments.
That put aside, the allegations by Ms Musisi are serious because they are criminal in nature, warranting immediate attention and action by the police.
Luckily, the Kampala ED is a lawyer and one does not expect her to make sweeping statements that she cannot defend when put to strict proof. That is why the police should pick interest in her statements.
However, it is surprising that despite her legal background Ms Musisi did not tell PAC that she had reported any such case against her to the police or even advised any of her affected colleagues to seek solace in the law.
But if Ms Musisi did report to police, as is expected of her, then the force owes the public an explanation.