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    How Finance Minister Kasaija Was Grilled By Bamugemereire’s Commission

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    Minister Kasaija (R) before the commission

     

    The minister of finance Matia Kasaija (74), has today been grilled by Bamugemereire’s commission of inquiry into land matters.

    While defending himself on his involvement in the land saga involving land’s minister Betty Amongi and departed Indians custodian Board, Kasaija revealed that he was appointed on the board by the president as established by law. John Bosco Suuza, the deputy land probe lead counsel put him to task to explain to the commission how the properties of the departed Asians was being managed because the commission received a number of complaints from bonafide owners and beneficiaries that their properties were stolen by senior government  officials and ministers.

    Suuza told Kasaija that one of the complaints was against one of his senior cabinet counterpart who also sits on the custodian board, Betty Amongi.

    Suuza asked Kasaija to tell the commission whether the lands minister declared her conflict of interest when the board allocated to her company, Amobet investment Uganda limited, where she holds 60% shares and her sister Ketty Adongo holds 40% shares, property on plot 29 Acacia Kololo Kampala, plot 12 Prince Charles drive Kololo  Kampala, plot 21 Kibuga block, Bakuli Kampala, Periman garden in Bakuli among others.

    Suuza informed Kasaija that the properties under question were already allocated to their owners earlier. He gave him an example of a one Tashak Patel who testified before the commission that her mother bought plot 29 Acacia avenue in 1958 and in 1972 they were expelled from Uganda by the late president of Uganda Iddi  Amin and left to Australia and United Kingdom respectively. Suuza said that Patel told the commission that he came  back in Uganda in 1992 and his  property was legally given back to him. Suuza told the finance minister that Patel told the commission that in 2017, Amongi, together with George William Bizibu  threatened him and cancelled his certificate to repossess the building.

    In responding to Suuza’s queries, Kasaija, who first tried to defend his fellow cabinet colleague Amongi, told the commission that the letter given to Patel by the former secretary to the custodian board Batemyetto was not legitimate for him to reposes the building.

    Kasaijja said that Patel was supposed to go to the lands registry and obtain a certificate of repossession but not just a letter.

    Kasaija said that he was briefed by the board secretary Mr. Bizibu that the certificate was not picked from the custodian board and in the lands registry. Kasaija said that not picking the certificate meant that the property was not yet repossessed and it was available  for allocation.

    Kasaijja’s ‘joke’ explanation made commissioner Rose  Nakayi, a law Don at Makerere university to educate him that Patel’s letter  of repossession, written by the secretary to the board, was legitimate  and there was no need of any additional requirement as the minister said.

    “Mr. minister, in law, Mr. Patel was not required to get any other documents as you people noted. The property was clearly legally repossessed to him,” Nakayi said.

    Kasaija insisted that the property was not for Patel by law which forced Nakayi to put him to task to quote the law in which he was basing his submission. Instead of quoting the law, he made an apology.

    Kasaija further told the commission  that the properties were just allocated to Amobet only for rent and not sold.

    He said that it’s the minister of finance the who is also the chairperson of the board who is supposed to sign the giving away of any Indian property weather for sale or for rent but he never did that on the property taken by Amongi.

    “Minister, I don’t want this commission to take it that you are these ministers who are careless when executing their roles and obligations. Minister, were you in the custodian board meeting that gave Asian properties to your fellow minister Amongi?” Suuza asked.

    The look on Suuza’s face and the question intimidated Kasaija who started changing his testimony.

    Kasaija said that he did not remember if he attended those meetings that gave Amongi a go ahead to obtain the properties. He said that they agreed as the board members that most of the work must be handled by the executive secretary who was supposed to handle renting and supervision of the properties.

    Kasaija told the commission that they also agreed among themselves as board members that they can rent out the properties but rejected suggestions to permanently sell them off. He said that they also agreed not to advertise that they were giving away the property and it was legally except. Suuza informed Kasaija that what they did as the custodian board to do private bidding was illegal because it left out many qualified people. Suuza put it to Kasaija that what they did was aimed at allocating the Asian properties to themselves as the board members and minister Amongi used that opportunity to grab Asian properties.

    Finally, Kasaija accepted before the commission that it was wrong for Amongi to use her office to get the said property using her company without declaring her conflict of interest to the board.

    He also promised that he is going to instruct Uganda Revenue Authority to investigate the allegation that Amongi’s company Amobet is not paying taxes to government. He also promised to look into the issue that Amongi didn’t register her workers to National Social Security Fund.

    Kasaija was also grilled by the commission for improper recruitment of custodian board employees. Suuza sqeezed the minister to explain the criteria he used to employ Bizibu as the executive secretary to the board. Suuza said that Kasaija gave Bizibu a job because he is from his home constituency.

    Suuza said it’s the reason why a one Bernard Tumwesigye, the interdicted executive secretary dragged government to court.

    Kasaija denied that it was not his personal motive to fire Tumwesigye  but it was a board resolution because of Tumwesigye’s behaviour. Kasaija said that one of the reason why Tumwesigye  was fired was because he tried to shot Kasimbazi, the senior commissioner in ministry of finance. Kasaija testify that it’s true he is the one who personally brought Bizibu and recommended him to the custodian board.

    He said that Bizibu is a longtime friend and a very hard working man since his days as the speaker of Kibale  district. Kasaija said that he introduced him to the board members and minister of finance officials especially Keith Mwakanizi who interviewed him and found him competent. Kasaija said that they all agreed to give Bizibu the job and apologised to the commission if they think he recruited Bizibu illegally.

    Kasaija pleaded with the commission to help him deal with Ugandans thieves who are stealing government’s money. He said that many people who were compensated in the land fund scheme are fraudsters. Kasaija told the commission that these fraudsters connive with government officials especially in the ministry of lands who are overvalue the land for compensation. The commission is still investigating how the land fund money is handled.

     

    By Jamil Lutakome 

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    Inside State House Meeting Where Rujoki’s URA Men Were Accused By Female Trader Before M7 Of Touching Their Breasts And Nyash  During Tax Collection…

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    President Museveni (L) and URA Commissioner General Musinguzi Rujoki (R)

    President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni was forced to direct Special Forces Command (SFC) detectives to with immediate effect kickoff investigations and report to him their findings concerning allegations that a number of male tax collectors sent by Uganda Revenue Authority Commissioner General John Musinguzi Rujoki sexually harass women during the exercise.

    Last week, Rujoki was accompanied by some of his staff who are enforcing the exercise of collecting tax from the city center to the State House to meet the president over the recent traders’ strike.

    President Museveni summoned the meeting to listen to both the traders and URA over the enforcement of the Electronic Fiscal Receipting and Invoicing System (EFRIS) and tempers were very high from all sides.

    Security in State House was on alert because of the sharp misunderstanding between traders, especially from those behind Dr. Thadeus Musoke Nagenda’s Kampala Capital Traders Association (KACITA) and David Kabanda’s Federation of Uganda Traders Association (FUTA).

    Both Kabanda and Musoke were fighting to make sure that their people are accredited to attend the meeting. The total number who took Covid-19 test were more than 200 and they all traveled to Entebbe State House to meet the president.

    By 10am, traders pitched camp at State House Entebbe gate prepared to give moral supporter to their respective leaders as they were arguing out their grievances against Rujoki’s URA before the President.

    However, they were surprised when State House security informed them that it will be only their leaders who will be allowed to enter.

    They tried to explain to the SFC Commandos how Kampala Senior Minister Hajjat Minsa Kabanda and her State Minister Joseph Christopher Kabuye Kyofatogabye assured them that they wereall going to meet Museveni and the only condition was to take Covid-19 test.

    “Many of us tried to make phone calls to minister Kabuye but he was not picking and Kabanda told us that she was still engaged with the President in Kitebi and she was not in position to talk to us, after that, she hung up,” one of the traders told Grapevine.

    Only 25 leaders were allowed to enter State House and others decided to camp in one of the compounds near State House waiting for the President. When he entered State House from Kitebi, he just waved at them.

    The meeting started by 10pm and a number of ministers whoincluded: Francis Mwebesa the senior trade minister, his deputy David Bahati, Evelyn Anite the state minister for finance in charge of investment, Kampala Minister Minsa Kabanda and other government officials.

    The traders were allowed first to submit their grievances against URA before the big man. However, KACITA suffered a setback when President Museveni wondered what they wanted from him because he had just met them a few days back and asked them to talk to the traders not to strike.

    Before the President finished his statement, Kabanda and his team clapped their hands in surprise wondering why Musoke and his team met the President secretly without informing them. Kabanda has his team immediately started accusing Musoke’s team of betraying the traders.

    The President then gave Musoke and Isa Ssekito the KACITA spokesperson the green light to continue with their submission.

    Meanwhile, Kabanda’s people were panicking fearing that their man (Kabanda) might fail to submit properly their issues before the president because their issues were in writing (and he struggles with reading documents) and he was supposed to follow the document since the President also had a copy.

    “Kabanda shocked all of us, we don’t where he got the confidence from because he was on spot and was even given a standing ovation,” a source who attended the meeting said.

    However, before Rujoki was given the opportunity to respond to the complaints made against him and his team, a one Doreen Nakirya was given a chance to also raise her complaint and the entire meeting was shocked when she reported to the President that Rujoki’s men in the field sexually harass them.

    One of the businessmen who attended the meeting told theGrapevine that Museveni was shocked, to the extent that when Nakirya talked about URA men sexually harassing female Traders, the President, who was writing every submission paused.

    He asked her whether she knew the names of the men who sexually harassed them because the NRM government does not believe and associate with men who don’t respect women.

    Nakirya told the president that Rujoki’s men touch and feel women trader’s bums, breasts and make sexual signs after waylaying them in their shops and sometimes their children and workers see them.

    While the president wasasking Rujoki to respond to the allegations, Nakirya pointed out a one Godfrey (who was also in the meeting) and a colleague.

    Immediately, the president directed SFC detectives to take both of them to record statements so that investigations can kick off.

    The president was also told that URA men have a vice of asking for bribes from them so as not to close their shops after accusing them of delaying to pay their taxes to URA.

    In his defense, Rujoki informed the President that URA on several occasions has always interacted with the business community and a number of trainings and workshops concerning EFRIS were carried out.

    One of the businessmen confirmed to theGrapevine that it is true URA has always conducted meetings and trainings with traders.

    The President was briefed that businessmen and women who are complaining have been hiding the correct record of sales they make every day.

    He gave examples with evidence that traders have two books, one which is submitted to URA and another one in which they record the actual sales which they don’t submit to URA.

    Fred Bamwine the Commissioner in the Office of the Presidency confirmed that nothing is going to change in the way URA collects taxes especially on EFRIS even if Museveni meets traders again in May at Kololo strip.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    Panic In Kabaka Mutebi’s Mengo Administration As Top Clan Head Nsamba Is Put On Suicide Watch Over Arrest Threats…

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    Buganda Kingdom's Kabaka Mutebi (R) and Omuttaka Ssalongo Aloysious Magandaazi (L)

    There was a lot of panic at Buganda Kingdom clan heads council after their secretary and also the Ngabi clan head Omuttaka Ssalongo Aloysious Magandaazi went missing for two weeks.

    One of the clan heads told theGrapevine that they are in fear that their colleague may kill himself because for two weeks they have failed to reach him.

    “We have been looking for him via his known phone numbers to see how we can help him and his family because we know the humiliating situation he is going through and his family but all his lines are off,” a clan head said.

    He pleaded with Buganda Kingdom administration led by Premier Charles Peter Mayiga to intervene and save the situation by buying a new home for the clan head because the one he was evicted on a court directive from the one he was staying in.

    It should be remembered that two weeks back, Court bailiffs guarded by armed policemen from Natete police station commanded by Hassan Ssekalema threw Nsamba and all his properties including pigs out of his house at Mutundwe Kigagga zone Lubaga Division a Kampala city suburb.

    His wife Jane Nanyondo and daughter tried to resist but they were defeated, arrested and taken to Natete police station.

    They were later released with orders not to go back to their home and told to stop using the piece of land because it was taken over on a court directive.

    Rosemary Nayiga who defeated Nsamba in Court told theGrapevine that the said land was owned by their father Edward Kasozi but in 1993, Nsamba fraudulently used force to grab it because he was a son to a former clan head.

    The development to evict Nsamba from the house comes at a time when the Kingdom culture court (kkooti ya Kisekwa) is set to announce his fate on the matter of being the clan head of the Ngabi clan.

    A section of Ngabi clan members dragged Nsamba to the cultural court claiming that he was illegally elected to head their clan.

    Things are not moving well in Buganda Kingdom clan heads council because just recently, their treasurer omutaka Daniel Bbosa Lwomwa the head of Ndiga clan was shot dead in February 2024 and a number of suspects whoioncluded Milly Naluwenda the secretary to Kisekwa court, Derrick Noah Luggya a clan mate to Bbosa and others were charged with murder and remanded to Luzira prison.

    Nsamba, the council secretary is also on run over arrest threats because court bailiffs want him to pay them Shs30m as eviction fees as directed by court.

    One of the clan head said that Nsamba went into hiding fearing imprisonment because he doesn’t have money to pay the court bailiffs. He pleaded with Mayiga to intervene and save the man.

    Other clan heads who are under pressure from Kisekwa court include:their council speaker Omuttaka Ssalongo Augustine Kizito Mutumba the head of Kkobe clan who was even stopped from accessing the clan headquarters in Mawokota Mpigi district.

    A section of clan members refused to recognize him as their leader even though kkooti ya kisekwa declared him the legal clan head.

    Kkobe clan members claim that Mutumba entered into a deal with Mayiga’s administration to give him a win so as to silence his good friend and also grandchild Kassim Male Mabirizi.

    Mabirizi put Mayiga’s administration under pressure because of several court suits filed against Ronald Muwenda Mutebi, the Kabaka of Buganda challenging his leadership.

     

    By Hadijjah Namagembe

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    Furious Kabaka Mutebi Lawyers Protest His Subject’s Prayer To Access His Juicy Bank Accounts And Confidential Kingdom Documents He Signed With President Museveni…

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    Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi (R) with President Museveni (L)

    The Constitutional Court which also doubles as the Court of Appeal is set to decide on Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi’s protest against the prayers made by his subject lawyer Kassim Male Mabirizi who wants to access and inspect his juicy bank accounts and other confidential Buganda Kingdom documents he signed with President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and the status of the Official Mailo land in Buganda.

    theGrapevine has exclusively seen a letter dated 2nd April 2024 which was received by the Attorney General’s chambers, K&K Advocates, lawyers representing Kabaka Mutebi in his Official capacity as a corporation sole culture leader of Buganda and S&L Advocates, the lawyers representing Kabaka Mutebi in his personal capacity as Ronald Muwenda Mutebi the son to late Sir Edward Walugembe Mutesa.

    In the said letter, Mabirizi claimed that he was going to use the documents to argue out his case against the respondents given that they are instrumental in helping court deliver justice in his petition.

    Among the documents Mabirizi listed to be given to him by Kabaka’s lawyers include; the certified copy of the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding signed between Kabaka Mutebi and President Museveni.

    He also wants to be given up to date particulars of all land leases, sub leases, licenses and other dealings between the office of Kabaka of Buganda and himself as Ronald Mutebi and his personal companies where he has interests and shares.

    Mabirizi also wants Kabaka to give him documents showing the particulars of all payments so far made to his office as Kabaka of Buganda including bank transfers and statements pursuant to the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding.

    He wants to also access all the payments so far made to Kabaka Mutebi by settlers on the official mailo land returned to him by President Museveni’s government in 1993.

    Mabirizi also wants the Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka who is also a senior partner at K&K Advocates who he wrote to in his official capacity as the Attorney General of Uganda to reveal to him certified copies of the parliament plenary attendance lists for Members of Parliament present during the debate and passing of the Land Act 1998.

    He wants to be given the parliament plenary proceedings (Hansard) leading to the Land Act 1998 as passed, the parliamentary plenary proceedings (Harsard) that led to the Land (Amendment) Act 2010 and a certified copy of the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2013 between the government of Uganda and Kabaka Mutebi.

    He also wants up to date particulars of all the properties so far returned to Kabaka, all payments and bank statements so far made to Kabaka as a result of the signed agreement.

    Mabirizi also wrote to Kabaka Mutebi’s other lawyers of S&L Advocates who are representing him in his personal capacity to reveal to him the bank statements of their client.

    However, Mabirizi confirmed that Kabaka’s lawyers of K&K Advocates through their senior partner Edwin Karugire who is also a personal lawyer and a son-in-law to President Museveni confirmed to him that they are not going to give him the documents he asked for because he has no legal bearing in his petition.

    “Now I’m waiting for a response from the Attorney General because he is also a party in my petition and Kabaka’s personal lawyers of S&L Advocates. If they decline to reveal the documents I ask for, I will proceed with the application before the Court so that they force them to do so,” Mabirizi said.

    He boasted that he is not threatened with Karugire’s actions because there are a number of authorities which he will rely on to convince the Justices of the Constitutional Court to force them to give him the documents he wants.

    Mabirizi further wants Kabaka Mutebi, his former cultural, palace and security minister and also the former Chief Executive Officer of Buganda Land Board  (BLB) David Kiwalabye Male, Baker Ssejjengo an employee of BLB, Bashir Kizito Juma the Deputy BLB Chief Executive Officer to be cross examined.

    He claims that Kizito and Ssejjego helped Kabaka to mismanage Buganda Kingdom properties and a number of them are registered in his personal names and companies.

    He further alleges that Kabaka Mutebi’s BLB used force to violate settlers on the official mailo while the government looked on.

    He wants court to declare that president Museveni illegally signed the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding with Kabaka Mutebi.

    He further wants the five justices of the constitutional court to declare that Kabaka Mutebi is not the owner of Buganda Kingdom official mailo land but just a trustee.

    Kabaka and other parties denied all the allegations Mabirizi placed against them and asked court to dismiss his petition with costs.

    Court set 1st June, 2024 as the date to kickoff the process of scheduling the matter before it is taken to the five justices who will determine it.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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