Some of the lawmakers complained about UWA executive director Dr. Andrew Sseguya’s frequent foreign trips.
PIC: UWA executive director Dr. Andrew Seguya explains a point as director of conservation John Makombo looks on while appearing before the parliamentary committee on trade. (Credit: Maria Wamala)
KAMPALA - In addition to his official per diem, the Uganda Wildlife Authority executive director and members of the board are given $1000 (sh3.5m) for entertainment, MPs heard on Wednesday.
The money is reportedly part of the officials' entitlement for foreign trips.
Meeting officials from UWA led by the executive director Dr. Andrew Sseguya, some of the MPs complained about Sseguya's frequent foreign trips, saying they had become too many and need to be limited.
MP Geoffrey Macho (Busia Municipality) criticized Sseguya and some of the board members especially the chairman of travelling more than the technical teams on grounds of marketing Uganda.
"Mr. ED, could you clarify on the frequent foreign travels by the Board chairman and yourself? Why are you paid $1000 in addition to the official per diem. How is this money accounted for?," he asked.
Other members raised a number of questions on the ivory scam, procurements, and gate collection fees, measures put in place to enhance the relationship between the wildlife and the communities and the Authority' budget.
Sseguya however was not given opportunity to answer the questions after committee members disagreed on whether the officials should respond verbally or in writing.
The disagreement lasted over two hours until the meeting was adjourned.
Prior to the meeting, the committee chaired by Kenneth Mbogo had sent guiding questions to the officials but later changed, arguing that the responses were too general and do not answer their concerns.
They instead decided to raise individual questions.
But before Sseguya and the team could respond, MP Alex Ruhunda proposed that the meeting be adjourned and the officials submit a written response.
Some members accused Mbogo of over protecting Sseguya.
After the committee meeting, Sseguya told journalists that he uses the money for buying drinks and eats for his guests.
"When we go for conferences, it is about marketing Uganda and when you invite people for a side meeting, you cannot ask them to pick the bill. You have to buy them drinks, eats and sometimes hire a room for the meeting. Actually this is very little money," he said.
On board members' travels, Sseguya said they also travel to market Uganda.
"Marketing Uganda is not a responsibility of one person. They also travel to market the country. Some of these MPs recently travelled with us in Germany, what were they doing? We all went to market our country."