Parliament has named a five-member committee to investigate the utilization of funds meant to facilitate the COVID-19 vaccine development by the Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation, Dr. Monica Musenero.
The committee will be chaired by Ibanda North MP Xavier Kyooma Akampurira.
The other members of the committee are Butambala Woman MP Aisha Kabanda, Bukooli Central MP Solomon Silwany, Otuke North MP Paul Omara and Nwoya County MP Tony Awany.
The committee will be expected to establish the progress in the development of a locally manufactured COVID-19 vaccine, establish the amount of money released for the research, innovation and COVID-19 vaccine development, establish how effective such funds have been utilized, and establish challenges faced in the development of COVID-19 vaccines and medicines.
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Anita Among gave the select committee a period of two weeks to report back to the House.
The development follows documentary evidence tabled before Parliament on Tuesday by Ntungamo Municipality MP Yona Musinguzi seeking to implicate Minister Musenero regarding the utilization of funds meant to facilitate the COVID-19 vaccine development.
Musinguzi demanded accountability of funds so far released towards the development of a vaccine under the Presidential Scientific Initiative on Epidemics (PRESIDE), a brainchild of President Yoweri Museveni led by Dr Musenero, who was a Presidential Advisor on Epidemics at the time it was unveiled.
Among documents tabled before parliament by Musinguzi is the budget of sh31 billion that was appropriated to PRESIDE.
According to Musinguzi, the money was then channeled to different individual scientists who have allegedly denied receiving the funds.
Musinguzi told parliament that amidst this questionable expenditure, PRESIDE is now seeking an additional budget of 50 billion Shillings towards the vaccine manufacture.
Also tabled by MP Musinguzi is a letter dated March 15, 2021, authored by OO Obongo, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry Science and Technology, writing to Dr. Musenero, to give accountability for sh 31 billion.