The Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) has summoned Finance, Planning and Economic Development Minister, Mr Matia Kasaija, for snubbing the committee probe twice.
COSASE is probing the Shs10.6 billion supplementary payment to six landowners in Bunyoro and Buganda regions.
Among the six land owners is Mr Stephen Peter Nagenda of Bwanswa who received Shs1.06b and Mr Geoffrey Mugisha who received Shs1.49b for land in Buyaga, both in Kibaale district.
Others included Mr Kasiya Rwabukurukuru who received Shs6.43b for land at Kiyunga in Sheema district, Mr Julius Busuulwa who received Shs1.4b, Ms Natalia Namuli who received Shs1.6b and Mr Yisaka Lwakana who received Shs125.3m.
The Lusanja land in Kyadondo belonging to Medard Kiconco and the Ndeeba Church land belonging to Ephraim Enterprises were also indicated in the Auditor General’s report of the Shs10.6b that was used to compensate the beneficiaries.
The COSASE committee seeks to investigate why only six people out of the many received compensation and yet some of the people who were left out had over stayed on the compensation list.
The committee is also querying the origin of the supplementary budget as the Uganda Land Commission says it was not consulted by the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development who asked for the supplementary of Shs10b.
On Thursday, May 26, 2022, the committee led by its chairperson, Mr Joel Ssenyonyi, was examining the Auditor General’s Report for Financial Year 2020/2021 and sought to find out from Mr Kasaija who is also the Buynja County Member of Parliament in Kibaale district in Bunyoro region about the process of releasing the supplementary, but he was no show.
Mr Kasaija was first invited to appear before the committee on Tuesday, May 17, 2022 last week.
He wrote back to the committee requesting for a rescheduling to Thursday, May 26, 2022, saying he was engaged with State duties.
Mr Ssenyonyi said that the committee decided to summon the minister who did not appear and without any communication, for now, the second time.
He said the minister is not above the law.
“He requested us to extend the day of the meeting. We gave him an appropriate day that was requested by him, which was Thursday 26th, but he did not communicate. We have summoned him and if he does not respond, we shall have to escalate the matter further,” Mr Ssenyonyi said.
Mr Pius Wakabi, the Bugahya County Member of Parliament in Hoima district in Bunyoro region disclosed to the committee that while it was not officially communicated, Mr Kasaija had flown out of the country to participate at the 2022 annual meeting of the African Development Bank Group in Accra, Ghana.
However, Mr Charles Bakabulindi, the Workers’ MP noted that Mr Kasaija is known for contempt of Parliament, arguing that he ought to have written back to the committee to show courtesy and commitment.