Bunyoro Chief Prince declines appearing before inquiry committee

Okwiri (Chief Prince) of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom, Eng Fred Mugenyi Rucunya. (File photo)

The Okwiri (Chief Prince) of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom, Eng Fred Mugenyi Rucunya, and Prince Charles Ochaki Nyabongo, have turned down the invitation to appear before the Orukurato (Parliament) Ad hoc Committee of Inquiry into allegations of mismanagement of kingdom resources.

This follows a January 30, 2022 letter, which Mr Rucunya wrote to the kingdom Prime Minister, Mr Andrew Kirungi Byakutaaga, directing him to step aside to enable an audit into the kingdom funds that he purportedly mismanaged with a cohort of his Finance Minister, Mr Robert Owagonza and the Attorney General, Mr Edgar Agaba.

Signed by the Okwiri, the letter said the trio fraudulently used Shs33b, abused their offices and mismanaged cultural sites in various parts of the kingdom

The matter prompted the Orukurato Saturday, March 26, 2022, to establish a five-member committee of inquiry tasked with interfacing with the complainants and the triad over the allegations levelled against them.

The committee headed by Mr Edward Muhimbo, comprising Mr John Bosco Bukya, Ms Justine Asiimwe, Mr Davidson Madira and Mr Gerald Busiinge was directed to report the findings to the Orukurato in a month’s time.

On April 11, 2022, the Clerk to the Orukurato, Mr Moses Atuha, notified and invited the Okwiri and Mr Nyabongo who are among the champions of the resource mismanagement claims against Mr Byakutaaga, Mr Owagonza and Mr Agaba to interface with the Orukurato ad hoc committee on April 15, 2022 at 10am in the Rukurato Hall in Hoima city.

“You are required to move along with documents or any other information deemed necessary for this committee,” the letter to the Okwiri read.

However, in his response letter dated April 14, 2022, the Okwiri rejected the invitation saying the matter is currently before court.

“The matters that you stated therein are a subject of court proceedings in the High Court at Masindi. Take notice, therefore, that I will not attend the said interface since the same can be used against me in court,” he retorted.

Also, in his rejoinder on April 11, 2022, Mr Nyabongo rejected the invitation reasoning that the interface was scheduled on a wrong day; the letter did not state the terms of reference, the committee was not sanctioned by the Omukama (King) and he could not submit anything behind the Okwiri to who he submits as a representative of the ruling Babiito clan.

“I regret to inform you that I will not attend the meeting. It is disrespectful to invite me on Good Friday (Way of the Cross) willingly knowing that it is a gazetted public holiday. I am a Christian who respects my faith and not a pagan,” Mr Nyabongo retorted.

Adding: “You have not stated the terms of reference and the purpose of the ad hoc committee meeting in your letter of invitation. Besides, the committee has not been ratified by HRM [His Royal Majesty] the King of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom. I am a Mubiito. The Babiito clan has a chairman, Owek Fred Mugenyi Ruchunya to whom I submit. He is our voice and official representative of the ruling Babiito clan. I cannot submit anything to you behind his back.”

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