Parliament’s Appointments Committee has vetted the new members of Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC).
This has been revealed by the committee’s chairperson also Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga.
“The Appointments committee has just completed the vetting exercise for the Chairperson and members of the Equal Opportunities Commission,” Kadaga tweeted on Friday.
Early this month, President Yoweri Museveni appointed Safia Jjuko Nalule as the new Equal Opportunities Commission Chairperson, replacing Sylvia Muwebwa Nabatanzi Ntambi.
The President also appointed Mr. Ojok Joel Cox as Vice Chairperson while Denis Tumusime, Zaidi Ibrahim Edema and Sr. Mary Wasagali have been appointed as members of the commission.
“In exercise of the powers vested in the President by Article 32 (3) of the 1995 Constitution and Section 5(1) & (2) of the Equal Opportunities Commission Act, I have appointed persons below as Chairperson, Vice Chairperson and Members of the Equal Opportunities Commission, respectively ” the President said in a letter to Speaker Kadaga.
“I hereby forward their names and curriculum vitae for parliamentary approval.”
In February this year, Museveni declined to renew Ntambi’s contract.
Her contract expired on 19th January 2021 and she was lobbying quietly to have it renewed as she faced charges of corruption and abuse of office at the anti-corruption court.
However, her efforts to have the President renew her contract met a dead end as she was ordered to by the Gender Ministry Permanent Secretary Aggrey Kibenge to hand over office.
In a letter dated February 19, to the Under Secretary Finance and Administration, Equal Opportunities Commission, Mr Kibenge directed that since Ntambi and some of her colleagues’ contract expired and are still waiting for President’s action on the tenure of the commission on whether to extend its mandate or appoint a new one, it was prudent that the affected individuals handed over office.
The contracts for the EOC commissioners, including the chairperson, expired in January and the President has not communicated his decision on whether or not he will renew some of them. Three commissioners including Ms Ntambi are however, eligible to be reappointment for another five-year- term. The other two commissioners are not eligible for reappointment.
Other commission members were; Joel Cox Ojuko, Patrobas Sirabo Wafula, Zaminah Malole and Dennis Nduhura.
According to Kibenge, the commissioners were supposed to hand over office on February 5 but this ceremony was postponed.
“All Members of the Commission, with the exception of Mr. Ojuko. should he contacted to immediately hand over to you the offices, official documentation and assets in their possession as we await responses from the authorities quoted above,” Mr Kabenge said.
“For clarity, Mr. Ojuko’s hand over should be deferred until the Solicitor General responds to our request for his opinion, although our considered view is that he cannot unilaterally constitute and exercise any of the powers of the Commission. Hopefully, the issue of either appointment of new Members or the Solicitor General’s opinion on this matter will be resolved as soon as possible. In the same vein Ms. Jane N. Ekapu, hitherto caretaking the Office of Secretary to the Commission, should also hand over to you. You will execute responsibilities of this Office until a new Commission is in place or advised otherwise. You may wish to temporarily re-assign some responsibilities to staff you have in post to facilitate smooth flow of business. Please do not hesitate to consult with myself, and/or with the Hon. Minister through my Office, on any matter that will help the uninterrupted running of the Commission’s business during this interim period,” he added.
Recently, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Jane Frances Abodo dropped all the corruption charges against Ms Ntambi. She communicated the decision in a January 18th, 2021 letter to the High Court Judge Margaret Tibulya.
The letter was tendered in court by State Attorney Gloria Inzikuru when the case came up for mention on Wednesday morning. Inzikuru told court that the DPP had lost interest in the three charges against Ntambi and asked the court to discontinue the matter.
As a result, Justice Margaret Tibulya discharged the accused person. Ntambi who has been out on bail has been facing one charge of corruption and two others of conspiracy to defraud. She has been facing the charges together with her nine assistants at the Equal Opportunities Commission for conspiring to defraud the government more than Shillings 35 million.
The assistants are Agnes Enid Kamahoro, Moses Mugabe, Mpitsi Mujuni, Ronnie Kwesiga, Manasseh Kwihangana, Harriet Byangire, Evans Jjemba, Sarah Nassanga and Sunday Nicholas Olwor.
The prosecution had alleged that Ntambi conspired with her co-accused to steal the money which they paid to themselves as per diem for editing and drafting the Equal Opportunities Commission HIV/AIDS workplace policy yet none of them was entitled to it.
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