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Top City Law Firm Katende Ssempebwa & Co. Advocates In Shs7.4bn Land Fraud – UFZA MD Grilled For Causing Financial Loss To Government…

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Lawyers Katende and Ssempebwa (seated in front), Inset is Jabo

City law firm Katende Ssempebwa and company Advocates has been mentioned in a massive scandal of defrauding Shs7.4bn from the government of Uganda.

Yesterday, Justice Catherine Bamugemereire’s led land probe discovered that the law firm owned by flamboyant former Buganda Attorney General John Katende and Makerere University law professor Fredrick Ssempebwa connived with officers at Uganda Free Zone Authority (UFZA) to defraud government.

Ebert Byenkya, the land probe lead counsel tasked Richard Jabo, the Managing Director Uganda Free Zone Authority to explain how through Katende Ssempebwa and company Advocates, they sold off land at exorbitant price of Shs7.4bn without following the right procedures of procuring land for the government. Byenkya stated that Uganda free zone Authority bought 102 acres of land on Busiro block 535 plot 32 Ziba Buwaya without carrying out due diligence which later turned out to be air. Byenkya revealed that even though state minister for investments Evelyn Anite petitioned the commission to investigate the fraudulent transaction, the commission has also received a number of petitions from other people who are claiming for the same land.

Jabo (right) with officers from UFZA before the commission

“Our investigations established that Mr. Keith Muhakanizi, the Permanent Secretary to the ministry of finance warned you Mr. Jabo in writing not to proceed with this transaction after discovering a lot of fraud in it. You intentionally refused to take his advice and continued with the transaction hence making the government lose a lot of money,” Byenkya said.

In his defense, Jabo testified that after receiving a directive from the president to establish a free zone near Kampala for investors and even availing the money to purchase the land, the Authority advertised in the New Vision and Daily Monitor in 2017 asking for people with that piece of land to apply and a number of companies applied.

At this point Byenkya intervened and asked Jabo whether they were only looking for law firms to bid because all the applicants were law firms. Jabo testified that they were also surprised to see only law firms applying and Katende Ssempebwa and company Advocates were the highest bidders. He said that the law firm applied with powers of Attorney from Dick Lutaaya and Paul Bukenya and the authority agreed to purchase the land at a price of shs6.6bn.

Jabo insisted that all the procedures were followed and the value of Shs6.6bn was reached and paid after the government valuer concurred with the private valuers from Katende Ssempebwa and company Advocates. However, justice Bamugemereire probed why the money was not paid directly to Katende Ssempebwa and company Advocates but rather paid to Kirya and company Advocates another law firm.

Bamugemereire further revealed that it was the Free Zone Authority that paid the stamp duty for the sellers and other necessary requirements amounting to Shs8bn. Bamugemereire further said that the family of Augustine Muwuliza wrote to the Authority with evidence that they were the owners of the land and they had a land title to support their claim.

Lawyer Katende in his office

Commissioner Mary Ochan Oduka tasked Jabo to tell the commission why the entire procurement of this transaction was abnormally handled by Collins Arinda an officer from the procurement office in the Free Zone Authority. He wondered why the due diligence report was not submitted to the board directors of the Free Zone Authority to approve the transactions and cited miscommunication in the authority. She said that there was a lot of fraud in the transaction that’s why even before the transaction, people like Dick Besigye and Andrew Muhwezi were claiming to own ‘bibanja’ on the purchased land. She said that this was the very reason why Muhakanizi warned him from continuing with the transactions but he (Jabo) insisted targeting his cut without caring about the tax payers money that was going to be wasted.

In Defense, Jabo testified that it was Katende Ssempebwa who told them to pay them through Kirya and company Advocates since they were the ones who agreed to compensate the ‘bibanja’ owners who were on the land.

He submitted that there is a misunderstanding between the management of the Free Zone Authority  and board but refused to give details of their grievances in public. He asked to testify in-camera. He told the commission that his Authority was misled by the ministry of lands because they consulted them before purchasing the land and discovered that the land was there but after paying the money, they were told that they bought air.

Minister Anite told the commission that president Museveni had assigned to him a number of international investors to be given land which Free Zone Authority  had bought but it’s nowhere to be seen. Justice Bamugemereire said that the commission will investigate the matter conclusively including summoning senior lawyers from Katende Ssempebwa and company Advocates to give their side of the story.

By Jamil Lutakome

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I’m Your Boss Now, Your Powers Have Been Trimmed, You Are A Ceremonial Mayor – Minister Kamya Tells Lukwago…

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Controversial Kampala minister Betty Kamya has told the Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago that his powers have been trimmed in the new law that president Museveni ascended to on 28th/November/2019.

While speaking to journalists today at the Media Centre in Kampala, the former Uganda Federal Alliance boss emphasized that Lukwago will be ceremonial and will report directly to her (Kamya) and Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) speaker who will be elected among KCCA councilors.

“The Lord Mayor will be responsible for activities such as receiving visitors and other dignitaries among others,” Kamya said.

According to this new Kampala Amendment Act 2019, the Lord Mayor will no longer chair council meeting as it has been in the past, it will be done by the Speaker or his/her deputy.  There will also be the City Executive Committee in which the Lord Mayor will preside over the day to day business in Kampala.

Kamya also laughed at those who are taunting her that her powers have been reduced with the appointment of bummy musician Catherine Kusasira, Kamya said that her powers have actually been increased and her office streamlined within KCCA.

Kamya rallied Ugandans most especially the informal sector to take part in the ongoing verification of the national voters’ register.

“During the last elections (2016), 800,000 voters in Kampala didn’t turn up for voting since many of them were busy at work while others had registered in distant areas. This time I call upon every Uganda to check if they are fully registered to vote,” Kamya said.

Kamya advised those who can’t easily access their voting places to use this chance to change to nearby locations since the voting exercise always comes once in 5 years.

By Josephine Kauma and Ronald Kisekka.

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I Have Never Stolen Anything From Anyone That Is Why I Will Be The First To Stone A Corrupt Person – Physically Fit M7 Warns The Corrupt…

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President Museveni has warned Ugandans who accept bribes that he will be the first one to stone anyone implicated in corruption tendencies.

The president made these remarks at a function organized by Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema’s State House Anti-corruption unit after the anti-corruption walk that took place today morning.

The walk was organized to highlight the negativity of corruption and also to show the need to end the vice in Uganda. Museveni said he is ready to deal with Ugandans who practice corruption and pretend to be holy.

“Many people are corrupt but pretend to be holy. When you ask anyone who has never stolen, pick a stone and throw at the corrupt, I will be the first to pick it because I have never stolen anything from any one and I am not corrupt,” president said.

The President further revealed that even though he has never chewed a bribe, he is still not poor. “I am not corrupt and I am not poor,” Museveni said.

He further noted that corruption is both spiritual and moral and that it is a practice that makes someone a parasite. “A corrupt person is like a parasite that feeds on people’s blood, you earn what you have not worked for,” he said.

He warned those who got wealth through corruption to be kin because wealth from corruption does not last long. “It seems wealth from corruption does not stay longer, I have never seen corrupt people sustaining their wealth,” he added .

He further revealed that he knows some of the corrupt people but it’s not yet time for him to disclose them to the public.

“I know some of the corrupt people, I will not mention their names but I will expose them when time comes,” he promised.

He urged the public and the anti-corruption agents to corporate and fight against corruption in Uganda. “Corruption can be ended through unity of the public and the anti-corruption agents, we need to work together to end corruption in Uganda,” he said.

The President also took time to answer social media critics who question how he acquired his herd of cattle at his farm in Kisozi.

Museveni said, “I got them cows from my grand and God has kept them. UNLA soldiers wanted to steal the cattle but failed. They even blew up the house of my mother using an RPG but they didn’t steal them because they were hidden in the savanna.”

Museveni asked three government bodies including the Inspectorate of Government (IGG), State House anti-corruption unit and Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to ensure that they don’t recruit employees only on the basis of qualifications but they should also consider their integrity.

By Josephine Kauma

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‘KASUKAALI’ AGAINST FIRE: No One, I Repeat, No One Can Silence Me, On Matters I Know Well, Facts, And What I Stand For! – Govt. Spokesperson Warns Bobi Wine Supporters…

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The deputy government Spokesperson Rtd. Col. Shaban Bantariza has warned Ugandans who are threatening him over his ‘Kasukaali’ (sugar) comments.

Recently, Bantariza was quoted in the media allegedly telling NRM leaders in Kampala at a meeting at Nakivubo Blue Primary School playground that if Bobi Wine thinks that he has ‘Kasukaali’, the NRM has fire and they will respond to him with the same fire if he continues with his activities which Bantariza said are aimed at distorting peace in the country.

Today, Bantariza, who claimed that his message was somehow distorted took to twitter and warned those who are hurling threats and insults at him.

“Masses”, you said? (laughs) For me, if you didn’t know, no one, I repeat, no one can silence me, on matters I know well, facts, and what I stand for! Social media “masses” are a small minority, but since politics is like money, every cent counts! Let me burn down dt can of worms!” Bantariza responded to a one Ugandan Panther who has earlier threatened him that, “Shameless arrogant out of touch @Bantariza opened a can of worms and is facing the wrath of the mases… too blind to notice and apologize boosting with 3guns against 44m Ugandans. The worst is yet to come after the ignorance you displayed.”

Here are some of the exchanges between Bantariza and Ugandans who were angered by his comment:

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