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I Smelt A Rotten Rat In Mutungo Land Deal – Auditor General Reveals, Chief Gov’t Valuer Denies Approving Shs26bn Compensation

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The Auditor General John Muwanga (C) before the land probe

John Francis Semwezi Muwanga, the Chief Auditor General has revealed shocking evidence on the Mutungo hill transaction between the Government of Uganda and Dr. Muhammad Buwule Kasasa. Muwanga testified before the commission of inquiry into land matters that in 2006, when they were Auditing the financial statements of the ministry of Lands, he discovered that there was a lot of fraud in the purchase of 640 acres of land on Kyadondo Block 237 plot 56,59 and 29.

 “I was supposed to give an Audit Opinion on the financial statements of the Ministry of Finance but I failed to give it. I wrote to the accounting officer to give me the details of Shs1.2bn paid to two people. The details of the land transaction were missing,” Muwanga said. He said that the money was paid without the valuation report from the Chief Government Valuer yet government cannot buy land without knowing how much it costs.

 There was no land title nor transfer forms from the owner of the land. Muwanga told the commission that the accounting officer who was also the Permanent Secretary in the ministry of lands told him that the government purchased the land for security reasons and that negotiations were still ongoing. He added that by that time, government had already paid Shs186m. He reported the matter to parliament for more investigations.

 He said that again in 2007, he found out that the government had paid more money which was totaling to Shs1.1bn. He however said that to his surprise, the land that was purchased had caveats lodged on it by the family of the late George William Semanda, one of the claimants on the land. He said that he found out that the transaction agreement was done in 2008 while the land was purchased in 2002. He said that he wrote to the Attorney General and Solicitor General to find out whether they were the ones who drafted the sales agreement. He said that the Attorney General and Solicitor General’s office through Katunguka denied drafting the agreement and even gave him letters written to them by Sebalu, Lule and Company Advocates and Lukwago and Company Advocates challenging the transactions. He testified that when he wrote to Uganda lands commission, he found out that there was no land title transferred from Kasasa.  He said that he reported the matter back to parliament and in 2008, he was summoned by the Public Accounts Committee to testify against the Mutungo scandal which he did. He said that in 2008, a whistleblower came to his offices and reported to him the corruption involved in the purchasing of the Mutungo hill land. He said that after receiving the whistleblowers’ statement, he refered the matter to the Inspector General of Government for further investigation and if necessary, prosecution of the culprits involved in the Mutungo hill scandal.

 He said that unfortunately, his complaint was not handled by the Inspector General of Government up to now.  He disclosed that by that time, court had also issued an order to Uganda Land Commission to delay the removal of the caveat lodged on the land until it had determined the matter. He wondered why the Uganda Lands Commission continued to transact the land even though there was a court order.  The deputy lead counsel to the Commission asked Muwanga whether he knows the person who drafted the agreement. Muwanga admitted that it was strange and he was scared of the way the transaction was rushed. He wondered why the person who drafted the agreement indicated that the government was supposed to pay Kasasa shs2.4bn within 60 days and with a clause that if the 60 days elapse without payment, government was supposed to pay a huge bank interest rate.

 Muwanga noted that its strange because bank interests change according to the changes in the economy. He testified that he was shocked when he landed on a letter written to the permanent secretary ministry of lands from the permanent secretary ministry of finance confirming that they were ready to pay the remaining shs26bn to Kasasa. He said that the person who   drafted the agreement was putting Kasasa on the upper hand than the government.  The commission also received a testimony from Gilbert Kerimundu the chief Government valuer who denied approving Shs26bn as compensation to Kasasa. He said that in 2017, he received a letter from the office of the Attorney General through the office of the Permanent Secretary ministry of lands asking him to calculate how much money government can compensate to Kasasa. He said that he also received a letter from the president asking the ministry of lands to speed up the compensation to Kasasa.

 Kirimundu told the commission that when he calculated, Kasasa was supposed to be paid Shs7bn. He said that after approving Shs7bn, he was summoned to the Attorney General’s office and they were badly insulted by officers in the offices of Attorney General and Kasasa’s lawyers. He was tasked to explain how he calculated his shs7bn compensation because it was too little.  He said that he explained to them that he used the fixed bank interest rate instead of the lending rate. Karimundu revealed that he insisted not to change his method when calculating Kasasa’s compensation. He testified that after the meeting in the office of the Attorney General, Guster Mugoya, the lawyer to Kasasa came to his office and started insulting him. He ordered him to change the method he used to calculate Kasasa’s compensation. The commission is still investigating the matter.

 

By Jamil Lutakome

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NATIONAL

Attorney General Defends Appointment of BOU D/Governor, DPP, URA And Prisons Boss During Lockdown In East African Court….

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L-R: URA's Rujoki, BOU D/Governor Dr. Antingi, prisons boss Byabashaija and the new DPP justice Abodo

The Government of Uganda through the Attorney General (AG) has defended the actions of President Yoweri Museveni to appoint the new deputy Governor Bank of Uganda, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Commissioner General Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Commissioner General of prisons and his deputy during COVID19 lockdown in the East African courts of justice.

In his response to the suit filed by city lawyer Hassan Male Mabirizi, the Attorney General denied all the accusations and asked that the suit be dismissed with costs.

In his suit, Mabirizi claims that it was illegal for the president to appoint Jane Frances Abodo as the DPP when she is a judge at the High Court.

He protested that the appointment of Abodo will create unfairness against the accused because she knows all the judges and can easily access them something the accused cannot do.

Mabirizi further protested that by the time Abodo appointed the DPP, she was under the Judicial Service Commission yet the law is very clear that for a person to be appointed as DPP, they must be recommended by public service commission. He wants the regional court to declare that Abodo was illegally appointed.

The controversial lawyer also protested that the appointment of John Musinguzi as the new URA Commissioner General was illegal since his name was not recommended by the board to the president as required by law.

He also objected the appointment of the Commissioner General of prison Dr. Johnson Byabashaija and his deputy James Mwanje, the appointment of Dr. Michael Antingi Ego and the deputy Governor Bank of Uganda by the president during the COVID19 lockdown arguing that Ugandans were denied their right and opportunity to raise their complaints against the newly appointed public officials before being approved by parliament.

He asserted that because Ugandans were not allowed to move during the lockdown, when he attempted to go to parliament to raise his complaint against one of the appointees, he was seriously clobbered by security operatives in uniform at Wandegeya a Kampala suburb.

He added that he tried again to challenge the legal declaration of the lockdown without a legal statuary instrument signed by the Minister of Health but his case was removed from the court records on orders of Dr. Andrew Byabashaija the head of High Court Civil Division which was also illegal.

In their defense, the Attorney General insisted that the president has powers to appoint a person to hold or act in any office in the public service of Uganda at the rank of head of department or above including their removal.

He insisted that  Abodo was appointed by the president on the recommendations of the public service commission and with the approval of the parliament. He told court that the person is not qualified to be appointed DPP unless he or she is qualified to be appointed a judge of the High Court.

While defending security forces for stopping Mabirizi, the AG argued that the function of the security forces is to cooperate with the civilian authorities in emergency situations and by stopping Mabirizi, they were implementing the presidential directives against COVID19.

He told court that the President issued the directives to control the spread of COVID19 under the statutory instrument issued by the health minister under the public health Act.

 

By Sengooba Alirabaki

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NEWS

We Have Not Sent You: Buganda Youths Warn Promoter Abtex On Leading Demo To Gashumba’s Home Over Attack On Katikkiro Mayiga ….

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Kasolo Walusimbi (R) and Abtex (inset)

Buganda youth under their umbrella ‘Bazzukulu ba Buganda  international’ have warned events promoter Abbey Musinguzi alias Abtex on his planned move to demonstrate at the home of city businessman Frank Gashumba over his misunderstanding with Buganda premier Charles Peter Mayiga.

Speaking to his fellow Bazzukulu at Mengo, Kasolo Walusimbi, the chairperson of the association said that they will not accept non Baganda to be used by some kingdom officials to use Buganda Kingdom name to fight their personal battles.

He challenged Musinguzi to reveal the names of Baganda who asked him to fight on their behalf.

“We are tired of people who are facilitated by our oppressors to frustrate Buganda interests, we don’t agree with the way Gashumba responded to Katikiiro because he is a leader of the kingdom but we also condemn the way the Katikkiro attacks and embarrass Kabaka’s subjects publicly,” Kasolo said.

He further revealed that the reason why Musinguzi is fighting for Mayiga is he wants to be given back the contracts to organize the kingdom’s festivals like Enkuuka and Masaza cup tournament which were given to National Resistance Movement (NRM) party mobiliser Balaam Barugahara.

Kasolo added that the people of Buganda have suffered because of strange agreements signed between Mayiga’s administration and the central government without thorough consultation from Buganda people.

When contacted, Abtex rubbished Kasolo’s allegations adding that he is no longer interested in organizing Buganda festivals.

He said that since he is a Munyankole living in Buganda, he is grateful with Buganda hospitality and he cannot just sit down and look on when the likes of Gashumba are humiliating the kingdom’s administrators.

He declared a war on Gashumba to put him to order.

He revealed that preparations are in high gear to storm Gashumba’s home this Wednesday.

He boasted that he has worked so much for Buganda unlike people like Kasolo who want to make a name for themselves by attacking him.

 

By Sengooba Alirabaki

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CRIME

Fire Guts Ntare School Headteacher’s House, Destroys Car…

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Mr. Jimmy Turyagyenda and the car which was burnt

Mbarara police is investigating the cause of fire that gutted the house of the Ntare School headteacher, Mr Jimmy Turyagyenda, destroying his car.

There was a fire outbreak in the school at the headmaster’s residence.

Rwizi region police spokesperson Samson Kasasira said that the head teacher’s vehicle, a Toyota corolla, which was in the garage that is connected to main house and other household property was destroyed in the fire which started at around 2pm on Saturday, May 23.

The Mbarara fire team put out the fire that had gutted the garage that is connected to main house.

Cause of the fire is suspected electric short circuiting from the car battery.

Mr. Kasasira said police preliminary findings indicate that the fire could have started from electric short circuit in the garage connected to the kitchen.

Mr. Turyagyenda’s story

 

By Sandra Mukisa

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