The Speaker of Parliament on Tuesday disagreed with Members of Parliament sitting on the legal committee after they turned away the deputy Attorney General, Jackson Kafuuzi.
Kafuuzi had appeared before the committee to answer questions regarding the Law Revision Fines Instrument of 2021.
The chairperson of the committee, Robinah Rwakoojo told Parliament that her committee could not proceed meeting Kafuuzi after he informed the committee that he was not holding the portfolio for the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
She explained that Section 2 of the Law Revision (Fines and other Financial Amounts in Criminal Matters) Act, No. 14 of 2008 defines the minister as one responsible for justice.
Rwakoojo said that the committee had no option but to call off the meeting. She told MPs that a substantive Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs should be appointed.
She also asked the Speaker to extend the time the committee should consider the instrument.
However in response, Oulanyah questioned whether the committee wanted a specific person or resource person that can provide the information the committee needed. He added that he was not sure if the actions of the committee are correct.
Theodore Ssekikubo, the Lwemiyaga County MP said that it is not strange for a Minister to stand in for another colleague. He said that it could have been an oversight on the side of the committee to turn away the deputy Attorney General.
Asuman Basalirwa, the Bugiri Municipality MP defended Rwakoojo saying that she had ably presented the position of the committee. He said that the office of the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs has many implications on the country’s laws and many government departments are stuck with publications that require the signature of the minister due to the clarity of the statute.
He said that their committee found it difficult to proceed with the meeting with Kafuuzi since he was not formally designated as the minister.
But Oulanyah insisted that he was not convinced because what the committee needs is information rather than the person who has signed the document.
He objected to the request of extending the time for the committee to consider the statutory instrument.
Oulanyah said that they would convene a meeting with all chairpersons and see how to structure proceedings of the committees.