By Hannah Marion Namukasa
Parliament has recommended the investigation of the former Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Hon. Beti Kamya and Finance Minister, Hon. Matia Kasaija for their role in the shs10.6 billion land compensation.
The House chaired by Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among on Thursday, 04 August 2022 adopted the report of the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) which called for the investigation.
Four land owners including Stephen Nagenda, the late Kosia Rwabukurukuru, Geoffrey Mugisha, and Nantalia Namuli were compensated for their land in different parts of the country.
The committee in its report states that although the Uganda Land Commission (ULC) was the one supposed to request for the supplementary, the then Hon. Beti Kamya initiated the supplementary without the knowledge of the Commission.
The committee found that after it was approved and disbursed, the supplementary was however, full of controversies as it emerged that ghost claimants were paid.
One of the cases is that of Nantalia Namuli who was meant to get shs2.3 billion for her land in Kagadi, but the committee found out that she was not the owner of the land and that a law firm, Lubega and Buzibira Co. Advocates who represented her, benefited from the compensation of Shs2.3 billion through a one Warren Mwesigye.
The committee report faults Kamya and Kasaija for their roles in releasing the supplementary.
On his part, Kasaija admitted to the committee that the right procedure in securing the supplementary was not followed and that his staff should not have entertained the supplementary.
The report also implicates the Deputy Secretary to the Treasury, Patrick Ocailap who admitted before the committee that he authorized the payment without due diligence.
For Beti Kamya, the committee states that although she claimed that there was a directive from the President on the supplementary, she failed to present a copy of the directive but instead provided a letter written to her by the President’s Principal Private Secretary requiring a compensation follow up for the family of the Late Kosiya Rwabukurukuru.
“The former Minister of Lands should be investigated in respect of her participation in the commencement of the 10.6 billion shillings payment. Hon. Matia Kasaija and Mr. Patrick Ocailap the Permanent Secretary and Secretary to Treasury should be investigated for their role in the Shs6 billion supplementary processes,” Ssenyonyi said.
The committee also recommended the prosecution of Barbara Imaryo, the then accounting officer of the Uganda Land Commission and Siraje Isabirye, the head of accounts in regards to the ghost payments in the supplementary. Imaryo reportedly fled the country when the probe on the supplementary started.
“Uganda Police should work with Interpol to have Barbara Imaryo brought back into the country to face prosecution. Nantalia Namuli and her accomplices like Amara Peter should be prosecuted for forgery and lawyers Buzibira and Co. Advocates should be prosecuted for aiding the fraudulent transaction that led to the illegal payment of shs2.039 billion to Nantalia Namuli,” Ssenyonyi noted in the report.
The committee also recommended that the lost money should be recovered and that the Uganda Law Council should take action against the lawyers.
Speaker Anita Among inquired about investigating the current IGG who is implicated but the Minister of Defense, Hon. Jacob Marksons Oboth guided that the IGG is being investigated as a former minister and not based on the office she currently holds.
He guided that that the Auditor General or the appointing authority can investigate.
“Allow me to thank the committee for a good job. I was listening and I thought it was a judgment. I did not know it was a committee report; It was like a judgment; the way evidence was analyzed and evaluated,” Oboth said.
The Speaker however, guided that since the report was from the Auditor General initially, it cannot be sent back to that office but Parliament can only ask for investigations.
She said that the House should simply decide on the report and wait for a treasury memorandum on the matter.
“We can ask for investigations and of course, only Police and IGG can do the investigations,” the Speaker added.
Kalungu West MP, Hon. Joseph Ssewungu said that the IGG can pave way for their investigation by relinquishing her duties temporarily.