Parliament through the Committee of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Chaired by Tororo Woman MP, Annet Nyakecho has recommended reallocation of Shs11bn that was meant to compensate tycoon Hassan Basajjabalaba, to be diverted to Uganda Broadcasting Cooperation (UBC).
This was after the committee found out, while perusing through the Finance Ministry’s policy statement that no money had been allocated to revamp UBC in the 2018/19 budget, even though parliament had made this recommendation earlier.
Parliament had approved a total of Shs20bn in the financial year 2017/2018 to revamp the national broadcaster, but the committee learnt that only Shs Shs 6billion was disbursed.
The committee today called for a stakeholders meeting including the Permanent Secretary and Secretary to Treasury (PSST) Keith Muhakanizi, the ICT State Minister, Aidah Nantaba and UBC MD Winston Agaba to have the issues ironed out.
In the meeting, Muhakanizi informed members that he had earmarked Shs11bn to the Ministry of ICT, which was to be used to clear UBC’s debt to Basajjabalaba.
He said however that before he could clear the payment, he was reminded of the Supreme Court ruling of 2014 which recommended that Basajjabalaba should not be compensated.
Lawyers representing UBC and those representing Basajjabalaba entered into an out-of-court settlement and wanted the Supreme Court to sanction the deal where UBC would pay Basajjabalaba Shs36bn as compensation for the botched sale of the Bugolobi land measuring close to 25 acres.
The ICT State Minister, Nantaba wonder why the PSST had not channeled the money meant for debt payment through the Attorney General’s Office.
Muhakanizi in response informed members that it was up to the committee to recommend reallocation of the funds to UBC.
“I have thus written to the Attorney General seeking interpretation of the Supreme Court ruling before any compensation can be made but in the meantime, the committee can choose to reallocate the money,” Muhakanizi said.
The committee chairperson thus ruled that the committee will reallocated the Shs11bn that has been provided in the ICT budget to UBC to help in the revamping process.
“We have done our work and have reallocated the money, we have told the PSST to look for money elsewhere in case they have to compensate Bassajabalaba,” Nyakecho said.