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WHEN TWO ELEPHANTS CLASH: Defiant Namuganza Warns Bamugemereire To Stop Humiliating Government Officials In Public

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The state minister for lands who also doubles as Bukono constituency Member of Parliament princess Persis Namuganza has today been grilled by justice Bamugemereire’s commission of inquiry into land matters.

Namuganza was summoned by the commission on allegations of trying to con Shs 4 billion from president Museveni in a botched land deal.

During her submission, Namuganza kept mentioning the name Museveni in every statement she made which forced Commissioner Joyce Habaasa to question her level of education.

“Please Honorable minister, can you tell us your Academic background?” Habaasa asked Namuganza. The minister took five minutes without speaking a word until Justice Catherine Bamugemereire asked her to answer the commissioner’s question

“My lord I sat my primary Leaving Examination (PLE) in 1997 at Hifula primary School, I went to Elgon High School Mbale were I sat my UCE in 1999 and my lord I got an accident which forced me to go to Luwero district to stay with my auntie. She took care of me and it’s where I sat my UACE exams from in 2003,” Namuganza stated.

A Few minutes later, another commissioner Mary Oduka Ochan asked Namuganza,” I am sorry Honorable Minister, did I quote you properly, that you sat your PLE in 1999?” A frustrated Namuganza looked down again and started making some calculation in her note book. When Bamugemereire told her to answer Oduuka’s question, she took a deep breath and said, “My lord I’m sorry it was a mistake I sat my PLE in 1995 at Bukono Primary School then I went to Elgon High Mbale where I sat for my UCE in 1999, I went to Luwero where I sat my UACE, I did my Diploma in accountancy at Makerere Business Institute in 2003. I also did a degree in Social work and Public Administration from Kyambogo University before doing a master’s degree in International Relations at Cavendish University Kampala branch in 2018,” Namuganza stated.

Bamugemereire also put Namuganza to task to explain why she was using President Yoweri Museveni’s name in her testimony. “Honorable, I have counted; you have mentioned the president’s name 20 times. Are you his spokesperson because what I know the president has his spokesperson? May be you hold a secret office for the president. Do you hold any private office to the president?” Bamugemereire asked.

Namuganza this time wore a smile told Bamugemereire that she doesn’t hold any private office but she is a minister appointed by the president and as a minister, she does a lot of assignments given to her by the president.

Bamugemereire challenged the minister to clearly state whether her office is advising the president. Bamugemereire wondered how she (Namuganza) took land grabbers from Mubende led by a one Milly Naava Namutebi, Henry Kaaya and Brasio Lule Musoke to the president. Bamugemereire pinned Namuganza that she thought that the president was going to rely on her investigation to make a presidential directive for the government to buy Naava’s claimed one square mile of land at Shs 4bn.

Namuganza was further grilled by Commissioner Robert Ssebunya who said that the minister is not helping the president but misleading him. He said that as a minister, she was supposed to carry out a good investigation before taking people to the president. “For your information honorable minister, I am a senior adviser to the president on Buganda matters. Every week, I brief the president but I remember his former private secretary Honourable Amelia Kyambadde once told me that I shouldn’t advise the president on a matter I hadn’t investigated. Why do you advise the president on matters you havenot investigated?” Ssebunya fumed.

Ssebunya’s questions rubbed Namuganza the wrong way and she also charged. She told the commission to stop humiliating government officials before the public.

She gave an example of the temangalo land scandal. Namuganza said that the commission decided to investigate the matter after realizing that former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi was going to give away her daughter to South Africa’s first son.

Namuganza said that the commission wanted to humiliate Mbabazi before his guests because her lands ministry had already investigated the matter.

Namuganza’s allegation forced Bamugemereire to give her a copy of the commission’s act to read. “My lord l’m not a lawyer l’m a lay person,” Namuganza said. Bamugemereire then ordered her to answer questions asked by Ssebunya.

She also ordered her to sit properly and stop talking back to the commissioners when they are asking questions; she told her that the commission has powers like those of the high court. Bamugemereire also told the minister that the commission is not answerable to her as a minister and according to the law, the commission is answerable to the president. She warned her to stop insulting the commission that they are answerable to her as the minister.

Bamugemereire also told Namuganza that she is going to write to the prime minister demanding an explanation as to why his cabinet ministers are attacking the commission.

Later, when Namuganza got out of the commission chamber, she told the media that the Bamugemereire commission should be disbanded because they have no use.

 

By Jamil Lutakome

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FULL 21-PAGE LETTER: I Can No Longer Work For You – Jennifer Musisi Resigns As KCCA ED

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The Executive Director of Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Jennifer Musisi Semakula has resigned after seven years at the helm.

In a letter dated today 15th October 2018, Musisi told his boss that she can no longer work as ED and thanked him for giving her the opportunity.

Below is the full letter from Musisi.

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AG Byaruhanga, Petroleum Authority Boss Sekatawa Snub Court In The Shs 6bn Presidential Hand Shake Suit

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William Byaruhanga the government Attorney General and Ali Sekatawa the legal officer Uganda Petroleum Authority snubbed court in the Shs 6bn presidential handshake case. Brian Kabayinza a lawyer representing Sekatawa who bagged Sh242m in this cash bonanza after winning Oil cases against Heritage Oil and Tullow Oil told court that Byaruhanga and Sekatawa were unable to attend court as they were told.

He said that at night, Sekatawa informed him that he was summoned by the president to appear before him on the Petroleum issues that is why he couldn’t attend.

“My lord, since he is the legal officer in charge of the petroleum Authority in the country, Mr. Sekatawa the petitioner in this matter told me that he can’t come today because the president had summoned them,” Kabayinza told High Court Judge Andrew Bashaija who was presiding over the case.

He also informed court that even the witness who the petitioners has paraded to testify to court was also in the same meeting with the president. He said that Byaruhanga attended the presidential meeting because he is the official legal adviser to the government and prayed for an adjournment.

Stina Chrotic and Solomon Kirunda the lawyers representing parliament which is a defendant in this case were ready to squeeze and cross-examine Byaruhanga on why he abandoned parliament’s decision to adopt a report recommending the return of the Sh6bn presidential hand shake. The lawyers from both sides agreed to the adjournment of the matter.

The Judge adjourned the case to 26th February 2019. Sekatawa petitioned court for judicial review after disagreeing with the parliamentary committee on Statutory, Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) by then chaired by Abdul Katuntu findings and recommendations. The committee recommended that the 42 government officials should return the money and that the Inspector General of Government should investigate them further.

However, in his petition, Sekatawa, the former legal officer Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) says that the committee’s proceedings were conducted in a manner that contravened the principles of natural justice.  He stated that on January 19,2017, Mbarara Municipality member of parliament Michael Tumusiime moved a motion seconded by Anita Among (Bukedea Women MP) Elijah Okupa (Kasilo MP) and Wilfred Niwagaba (Ndorwa East MP) urging parliament to investigate the circumstances under which Sh6bn was paid to the 42 government officials.

Sekatawa says that Tumusiime’s actions were illegal because parliament relied on unauthorized documents from highly questionable sources; he says that no formal record existed before parliament from relevant government institution in regards to the allegations made in the motion and no verification was done of the same prior to passing the motion. He insisted that the motion was moved contrary to Article 163 of the constitution which specifically empowers the Auditor General to audit the public expenditures and report to the legislature.

“As a result, parliament and more specially COSASE did not have legal mandate or ability to investigate the financial expenditures of entities prior to their evaluation by the office of the Auditor General as envisaged by law,” Sekatawa stated in his affidavit.

ekatawa also attacks COSASE chairperson Abdul Katuntu (Bugweri MP) and his deputy by then Medard Sseggona Lubega (Busiro East MP) for having conflict of interest and thus conflicted on the matter since they were members of the legal committee and the parliamentary affairs committee which he says summoned the same government officers, queried expenditures on arbitration cases and eventually approved the budgets.

He added that COSASE didn’t give enough time to the beneficiaries of the presidential reward to be heard thus denying them right to a fair hearing which contravenes Articles 20(1)and 3,28(1),42 and 44 of the constitution.  Sekatawa says that during the course of the hearing, members of COSASE committee exhibited apparent bias. “This was evidenced in the manner in which they conducted the inquiry,” he stated. He also wants court to interpret Article 98 and 99 of the constitution on whether the president as a fountain of honour has discretionary executive powers to reward public servants. Among the beneficiaries of the bonanza included Uganda National Roads Authority boss Allen Kagina, Uganda Revenue Authority boss  Doris Akol,  Kampala  Capital City Authority Boss Jennifer Musisi and others government officials.

 

By Jamil Lutakome

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INVISIBLE HAND: Bamugemereire Cries Out As Land Grabbers In Government Financially Starve Her, Deny Her Money

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It seems justice Catherine Bamugemereire’s commission of inquiry into land matters has started feeling the strong invisible hand of the land grabbers in government.

Justice Catherine Bamugemereire the chairperson of the commission admitted today that her commission is financially starved.

“What the public needs to know is that even though they have been calling us everywhere for the last four months, we cannot go there because we do not have any provision (financially), we have zero operational fund. Hence, it’s a difficult for us to move everywhere the public calls us. It’s painful to see our staff who are working for us not paid for that period, it’s painful,” Bamugemereire stated.

She revealed that for the last four months, the concerned people who are supposed to give the commission funds have failed to allocate money to facilitate the commission’s work.

She said that they have kept silent for all this time without money but they were touched when the residents of Mubende and Lusanja were brutally evicted from their land and their homes were demolished by greedy land grabbers and court bailiffs.

Bamugemereire stated that the commission has been investigating the land where people were evicted from and they advised court not to issue any order evicting locals because the commission had received the people’s complaints.

She noted that what surprised them as a commission is to see hooligans demolishing people’s house maliciously. Bamugemereire asked the judiciary and the Uganda police to come out and condemn whatever happened over the weekend when city tycoon Medard Kiconco and Court bailiff Moses Kirunda evicted people in Lusanja Nangabo county Wakiso District and the eviction which took place at Mubende District.

The commission also issued summons against Kiconco and Kirunda to appear before the commission this week to testify why they maliciously evicted innocent people from their land.  Bamugemereire’s remarks were supported by the commission’s lead counsel Ebert Byenkya who stated that due to lack of facilitation, the commission is now only handling cases which don’t need a lot of money like facilitating witnesses and complainants to come and testify before the commission.

He said that for the commission to conclusively investigate a matter, they have to call all the concerned parties to testify but some tell them that they don’t have money to transport themselves to the commission headquarters in Wandegeya Kampala.

He added that the commission also has to send its investigators to the ground to get evidence from on any matter and they need facilitation to do the work properly.

The Commission’s outcry for financial facilitation comes when government Ministers and officials threatened to fight the commission after it started investigating their involvement in deadly land grabbing deals and mismanaging of the public funds allocated to Uganda land fund which was supposed to buy land from land lords to benefit tenant.

Among the minister who declared war on the commission include, Betty Among (lands minister), Persis Namuganza (state minister lands), Matia Kasaija  (Finance minister), Hillary Onek (Minister for Disaster preparedness), Keith Muhakaniza among others.

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