Parliament has recommended an investigation of Finance, Planning and Economic Development Minister, Mr Matia Kasaija and former Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Ms Beti Kamya for their role in the Shs10.6 billion land compensation.
Chaired by Speaker of Parliament, Ms Anita Among, the House on Thursday, August 4, 2022, adopted the report of the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities, and State Enterprises (Cosase) which called for the investigation.
Four land owners including Mr Stephen Nagenda, the late Kosia Rwabukurukuru, Mr Geoffrey Mugisha and Ms Nantalia Namuli were compensated for their land in different parts of the country.
In its report, the committee states that although the Uganda Land Commission (ULC) was the one supposed to request for the supplementary, the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Ms 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.
The committee found out that one of the cases is of Ms Namuli who was meant to get Shs2.3b for her land in Kagadi district but she was not the owner of the land and that a law firm, Lubega & Buzibira Co. Advocates who represented her, benefited from the compensation of Shs2.3b through a one Mr Warren Mwesigye.
The committee report faults Mr Kasaija and Ms Kamya for their roles in releasing the supplementary.
On his part, Mr Kasaija who is also the Buyanja County Member of Parliament in Kibaale District, 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, Mr Patrick Ocailap, who admitted before the committee that he authorised the payment without due diligence.
For Ms 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 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,” Mr Joel Ssenyonyi the Cosase Chairperson said.
The committee also recommended the prosecution of Ms Barbara Imaryo, the then accounting officer of the ULC and Mr Siraje Isabirye, the head of accounts in regards to the ghost payments in the supplementary.
Ms 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 [former Kibaale District Chairman] should be prosecuted for forgery and lawyers Buzibira & 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 Ms Among inquired about investigating the current Inspector General of Government (IGG), Ms Beti Kamya, who is implicated but the Minister of Defense, Mr Jacob Marksons Oboth, guided that the IGG is being investigated as a former minister and not based on the office she currently holds.
The minister 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 analysed and evaluated,” Mr 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 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, Mr Joseph Ssewungu, said that the IGG can pave way for their investigation by relinquishing her duties temporarily.