Mathias Mpuuga’s 500M Pay Is Illegal, Uganda Law Society Confirms

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As per its legal duty of guiding the Public on legal matters, the Uganda Law Society (ULS) has confirmed the widely held beliefs that former Leader of Opposition Mathias Mpuuga’s hugely publicized 500M extra Pay – on top of his salary as Leader of Opposition and Member of Parliament was illegal and should be investigated.

In an undated Statement to the LegalReports on Tuesday, Uganda Law Society President Bernard Oundo writes that Mathias Mpuuga’s so-called “service award” contravenes Article 93 of the Constitution of Uganda to the extent that the Article requires any extra payments to MPs to be done by way of a Bill or a motion introduced to the House on behalf the Executive arm of Government.

Article 93 of the Constitution states that:

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“ Parliament shall not, unless the bill or the motion is introduced on behalf of the Government – (a) proceed upon a bill, including an amendment bill, that makes provision for any of the following – … (ii) the imposition of a Charge on the consolidated Fund or other public fund of Uganda or the alteration of any such charge other than by reduction… (iii) the payment, issue, or withdrawal from the Consolidated Fund or other public fund of Uganda of any monies not charged on that Fund or any increase in the amount of that payment, issue or withdrawal…”

According to leaked documents publicized by Award-winning Lawyer and Journalist Agather Atuhaire, a meeting of the Parliamentary Commission chaired by Speaker Anita Annet Among and attended by then Leader of Opposition Mathias Mpuuga, and three other Commissioners was held on 6th May 2022 to “review selected benefits of the Leader of the Opposition and Backbench Commissioners.”


ULS President Bernard Oundo/ Courtesy Photo

In that meeting, according to the documents, it was “considered and approved” that the Lawyer- Politician and the backbench Commissioners be given a “one-time pay off ‘service Award’” of 500M UGX and 400M UGX respectively, and that the Award amount would not change “regardless of length or tenure of office” – meaning that Mpuuga could still get the money notwithstanding his short-lived tenure of 2 years as LoP following his replacement by Nakawa West MP Joel Ssenyonyi.

 

Now, according to ULS Boss Bernard Oundo, these so-called “service Awards,” are illegal “ to the extent that there was no Bill or motion presented on behalf of the Executive in relation to the impugned “Service Award” emoluments and therefore “constitute an illegal charge on the Consolidated Fund of Uganda and ought to be thoroughly investigated.”

“ The Supreme Court of Uganda has confirmed the above position in Parliamentary Commission Vs Mwesigye Wilson, Constitutional Appeal No.8 of 2016, wherein it determined that the emoluments of Members of Parliament can only be altered (other than by reduction) upon a Bill or motion introduced on behalf of the Executive. The Court further held that the Parliamentary Commission is bound by this procedure of determination of emoluments of Members of Parliament.”

Mr. Oundo counseled.

“ ULS thus urges Parliament to abide by the Constitutional and Statutory laws governing the determination of their emoluments (including salaries, gratuities, pension, and other benefits) and to lead by example in demonstrating proper and economical use of public funds.”

He added.

ULS’s legal advice comes against the backdrop of denials, confusion, and back and forth between Hon. Mathias Mpuuga and his sympathizers on one hand, and his political Party NUP and its supporters on the other – and at least should set the legality record of Mr. Mpuuga’s and others’ “service awards” straight.

The Lawyers’ lobby further counseled in favor of setting up an independent “Salaries and Remuneration Commission of Members of Parliament” to “remedy the perennial problem of payment disparities and conflicts of interests in the determination of the emoluments of Members of Parliament.”


Benjamin Ahikiiriza is a Legal Writer And Digital Communications & Marketing Specialist majoring in Lawyers, Law Firms And the larger Legal Sector.

Benjamin currently Works as the Director of Content and Business Development At LegalReports.


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