By Spy Uganda
The Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Matia Kasaija last month apologized for the fraudulent deal of Shs10.6 billion that was advanced to the Uganda Land Commission (ULC) to pay land claimants in Buganda and Bunyoro sub-regions in the financial year 2020/2021.
Kasaija made the admission while appearing before the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) that is investigating the origin of the supplementary after the Auditor General’s report raised a red flag.
Preliminary investigations showed that the legal procedures were flouted while processing the supplementary which was allotted to benefit six land claimants some of whom were allegedly ghost beneficiaries.
Kasaija without fear or favor regretted how Kamya now Inspector General of Government (IGG) but then (Ministry of Lands) shamelessly initiated this deal leaving government in such a big loss.
“This supplementary was in error; it was not supposed to be initiated by the then minister of Lands [Beti Kamya]. If you are to follow the law strictly, then my ministry should have rejected this and should not have approved it. It is the Uganda Land Commission that should have sent in the request [for a supplementary] and not the minister of Lands,” Kasaija said.
The six land claimants who benefited from the Shs10.6 billion supplementary are, Kasiya Rwabukurukuru (Shs 6.43 billion), Stephen Peter Nagenda (Shs 1.06 billion), Julius Busuulwa (Shs 1.4 billion), Natalia Namuli (Shs1.6 billion), Yisaka Lwakana (Shs125.3 million), and Geoffrey Mugisha (Shs1.49 billion).
“I think we should ask Hon. Beti Kamya to give us a copy of this letter from the president because I don’t have a copy but I will check if I was given one,” he said.
The Shillings 10.6 billion Shillings was used to compensate beneficiaries who included Kasiya Rwabukurukuru who received Shillings 6.43 billion for land at Kiyunga in Sheema district, and Stephen Peter Nagenda of Rwanswa in Kibaale who received Shillings 1.06 billion.
The others are Julius Busuulwa who received Shillings 1.4 billion, Natalia Namuli who received Shillings 1.6 billion, Yisaka Lwakana who received Shillings 125.3 million, and Mugisha Geoffrey who received Shillings 1.49 billion for land at Buyaga in Kibaale district.
But it has now emerged that, Natalia Namuli who is said to have received Shillings 1.6 billion has never received a single Ugandan coin.
Calling Kamya before the Committee, she denied initiating the supplementary budget, saying that she consulted technical persons under the ministry and wrote to the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to provide the funds to offset the disgruntled claimants following a presidential directive.
But Beatrice Byenkya Nyakaisiki, the suspended chairperson of the commission told the probe committee that Kamya did not consult them while initiating the supplementary budget. Byenkya added that even when the money was released, they attempted to sit down to devise modalities of paying the claimants but realized shortly that the accounting officer Barbara Imaryo had already disbursed the money to the beneficiaries.
Barbara Imaryo, who then doubled as the Secretary to the Commission is wanted by the probe committee over accountability queries, but she reportedly sneaked out of the country.