Wednesday, 25 July 2012

AG wants Bukonzo East MP seat declared vacant

By: Kasese online news team
The Attorney General, Peter Nyombi has asked the Constitutional Court to declare the Bukonzo East parliamentary seat vacant. This is in light of the conviction of area MP Yokasi Bihande for offences of embezzlement and uttering of false documents. On April 5 this year, Bihande was convicted by the Anti Corruption Court on his own plea of guilt, after admitting embezzlement of sh20m. He was ordered to refund the money. The AG's stand is contained in a response to a constitutional petition filed by Bihande's political rival, Fred Businge. Bihande's rival wants court to declare that seat automatically vacant after the conviction. The AG's response is contained in an affidavit sworn by state attorney, Kosia Kasibayo. "Owing to my legal training and experience, I know that the second respondent [Bihande][ should vacate his seat as an Honourable Member of Parliament in accordance with the Constitution," Kasibayo asserts. Additionally, the AG agrees with Businge, noting that Bihande's continued occupation of the seat is a violation of Articles 80(2)(f) and 83(1)(b) of the Constitution. The cited Articles highlight the qualification and disqualification of MPs, plus the tenure of MPs. Legal clashes On July 19, when the case came up for conference scheduling in court presided by the registrar, Erias Kisawuzi, Bihande's lawyer, David Mpanga pleaded that the AG be turned into a petitioner rather than a defendant. By Kasese online news team But Kisawuzi ordered him to file an application to that effect. In his petition, Businge who dragged both Bihande and the AG to the court wants a declaration to the effect that from April 3 when Bihande was convicted, he forfeited the benefits enjoyed by an MP. Businge notes that for such offenses linked to dishonesty and moral turpitude, Bihandeis not entitled to receive any salary, allowances and any other emoluments and privileges. He is demanding that Bihande refunds the monies to the consolidated fund. Businge wants court to temporarily block payments made to Bihande until the case is disposed. Adamant Bihande But Bihande has fought back, saying he was duly elected and that no circumstances have arisen to render his continued occupancy unconstitutional. He is citing a conspiracy game by the ruling NRM party. "This petition is not brought out of concern for public accountability but rather, is part of a deliberate process by the National Resistance Movement of witch hunting the second respondent [Bihande] because he is a member of the opposition," Bihande states in his affidavit. He notes that since he was convicted when already an MP, the scenarios in the cited Constitution Articles are not applicable in his case. Ends check out on the deatils link on what people had to say