By PATRICK JARAMOGI
KAMPALA, Uganda|SHIFTMEDIA| As we write this the chairperson of the Uganda Lands Commission Beatrice Byenkya and her purported bosses, the ministers of Lands are not seeing eye to eye.
Reason being standing on her feet and saying the requisition of the shs12.1b supplementary budget to compensate six individuals was ‘out order”, “illegal” and “inhumane”.
On Monday Beatrice Byenkya Nyakaisiki raised a red flag regarding the approval of funds after a letter she authored was sneaked into parliament by the Hon Johnson Muyanja Senyonga the Mukono South MP.
Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga then stopped the approval of the supplementary budget and advised that the budget committee handles the matter.
Though the dispute was taken to the budget committee of parliament, the rift deepened further as the ULC boss clashed with Beti Kamya, and Persis Namuganza, the Minister for Lands and State Minister for Lands respectively.
“I still put in on record that the commission didn’t ask for any supplementary budget,” she said. Byenkya whose jobs seems on the line for what state Minister for Lands Persis Namuganza described as “disobedience” also says her life is in danger.
Byenkya told the committee chaired by Isaigi Patrick Opolot (Kumi) that the minister (Lands) is irregularly trying to access the funds on behalf of the commission. She described as ‘dubious’ the priority of compensating the six individuals saying thousands of other Ugandans await similar compensation.
The criteria of compensation has always been the mandate of the Uganda Lands Commission. But what sounds fishy is the way the six beneficiaries were selected for compensation.
The six include: Family of Kasiya Rwabukurukuru ( Shs6.43b), Stephen Peter Nagenda (Shs1.06b), Julius Busulwa (Shs1.4b), Natalia Namuli (Shs1.6b), Yisaka Lwakana – (Shs125m), and Geoffrey Mugisha (Shs1.49b)
The inside story
After the revelations emerged, we dug deeper into the compensation saga and realized that the directives to pay the six came from the ‘Fountain of Honor’, President Yoweri Museveni.
Much as this debate seems useless, we can reveal that the Family of Kasiya Rwabukurukuru, had land located in Kiyunga in Sheema valued at shs 9.43 billion. The family on orders of President Museveni was already paid shs3b and are now demanding a balance of shs6.43b.
Julius Busulwa from Buyaga in Kibale was also demanding shs2.21b for lost land, he has already been paid shs812m leaving a balance of shs1,4b.
As for Stephen Peter Nagenda, a resident of Rwanswa in Kibaale, the court ordered that he be paid the sum of sh1.06b. He is yet to be paid.
The case of Natalia Namuli needs further scrutiny. According to the request forms we have obtained, her land in Buyaga Kibale, where the Finance Minister Matia Kasaija (below) comes from was valued at shs1.6b. The purpose of the funds request was for urgent medical attention. So we may need to know whether the government will foot her bills and retain her land or what.
Unlike Namuli who also needed money for medical treatment, Yisaka Lwakana also from Kibale had land valued at shs1.175b, he has already been paid shs1.050m and now has a balance of shs125m.
Another beneficiary with a similar case (medical) is, also from Kibale whose land was valued at sh1.544b and was advanced shs50million. He now demands shs1.49b.
Fighting a losing battle
As we wrote this story, our efforts to get comments from the concerned authorities were met with stiff resistance and threats. What we can reveal is that the money will eventually be approved by parliament after insiders in the committee revealed to us how they are already divided over the matter. The members of the Budget Committee were promised hefty cash as appreciation according to sources. We are yet to verify these allegations.
“It is a directive from above, that is why even the Speaker referred the matter to the committee. It is now easier to silence the members with cash so as to pass the supplementary,” said an inside source.
The reason why five of the six beneficiaries are from Kibaale where the Finance Minister Matia Kasaija (The man who has powers to release cash) hails from can’t be under estimated.
Ugandans need to know that this is not something that started after elections. The total amount due from the six beneficiaries was initially shs17.6b of which shs4.9 has been offset leaving the balance of shs12.1b that is being contested in parliament.
The other contentious issue is the compensation of Dodovico Mwanje the mechanic from Ndeeba who made many Christians shed tears after he demolished the St Peters Church in Ndeeba during lockdown last year.
Apparently, Beti Kamya, the Minister for Lands has put in a request for shs3.8b as the compulsory acquisition of the land by Government for Ndeeba Church of Uganda.
Then comes the issue of Lusanjja land saga where the owner a one Medard Kiconco has evicted thousands of tenants. Now Kamya needs shs 3.84b to purchase land to relocate the evicted persons from Lusanja on plot 671 on Kyadondo block 206.