• Tue. Oct 3rd, 2023

UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | Following a lengthy investigation into the Uganda Land Commission (ULC) by the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE), the Committee has not recommended any further investigation or prosecution of embattled ULC Chairperson Beatrice Nyakaisiki Byenkya.

The COSASE investigation was prompted by a damning report of the Auditor General on the ULC for FY 2020/2021.

Hon Byenkya was called before the committee numerous times to defend her involvement in dubious payments made by the ULC. The most notable is the controversial USh10.62 billion Supplementary Budget initiated by the then Minister of Lands, Hon Beti Kamya, and disbursed to a mere six claimants, including ghost claimants based on forged documents.

Byenkya was forced out of office in April this year to make way for a probe into this and several other land transactions.

The COSASE investigation found that ULC Management went ahead to tag beneficiaries of the supplementary budget against the decision of Chairperson Byenkya, which resulted in conflict in the institution, leading to Byenkya’s suspension.

Real Muloodi News previously reported on the aforementioned conflict, after Byenkya blew the whistle on ULC officials on 30th September 2021 for engaging in corruption and bribery, citing overpayment of land fund claimants, irregularities on daily handling of taxpayers’ funds given to the entity, bribery of individuals when handling land fund and other business at ULC, fake land titling at ULC, non-compliance with public service rules and regulations, among others.

Byenkya first wrote a letter to the Director of the Bank of Uganda citing fraud in payments from the Land Fund. Then on 2nd October 2021, she wrote to the Director of the Criminal Investigations Directorate of Uganda Police, proposing investigations into officers of the ULC.

As a result of her letters, on October 4th detectives raided the ULC offices in Kampala and arrested four officials.

After Byenkya’s public calls for investigations into the Uganda Land Commission dealings, members of the ULC intern called for Byenkya’s interdiction.

The member’s alleged Byenkya, as the head of the institution, should have resolved the matter internally instead of writing to outside agencies and damaging the reputation of the Commission. Therefore, they called for her interdiction on the grounds of misconduct, which ultimately lead to her suspension.

During the COSASE probe, Byenkya also had allegations of bribery levelled against her, including by Geoffrey Mugisa, one of the registered proprietors and claimants of the USh10.6 billion supplementary budget. Byenkya responded with a public statement that the allegations were false.

Ultimately, her accuser Mugisha not only failed to produce evidence to support his allegations but also failed to present documentation on how he got the land title, alongside the inconsistencies in his defence statements.

Byenkya has publicly insisted numerous times that Government officials are at the centre of grabbing government land, and that district officials, executives, and members of the land board use their influence and knowledge to connive and get fraudulent land titles in order to get money.

Byenkya further claims that some of these untouchable political figures are working to have her removed from power because they are afraid of being discovered over the public lands they have stolen.

During her interactions with COSASE, Byenkya is said to have exposed the identities of the politicians involved in dubious land deals, including the allocation of Nakawa-Naguru land to several companies who benefitted from the land distribution under irregular circumstances, one of them being Internal Medicine of Virginia.

In one session, Byenkya requested the COSASE chairman Joel Ssenyonyi to ask the journalists to leave the room so she could divulge the identities of the politicians involved.

The COSASE report on Uganda Land Commission, which was unanimously adopted by the whole house, names several individuals to be investigated and prosecuted, including:

  • Hon Beti Kamya, former Lands Minister, now IGG
  • Hon Matia Kasaija, Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development
  • Patrick Ocailap, the Deputy Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury
  • Barbara lmaryo, Former ULC Accounting Officer
  • Siraje lsabirye, Chief Accountant at Directorate of Ethics and Integrity
  • Richard Buzibira, Lawyer
  • Dennis Kahabura, Kibaale Land Registrar

Whereas Beatrice Nyakaisiki Byenkya’s name does not appear anywhere on this list:

Summary of the COSASE report on Uganda Land Commission (ULC). Image source: Twitter/@JoelSsenyonyi

The unfortunate outcome for Byenkya, however, is that it appears the untouchable political figures who have been working to have her removed from power for her stance against corruption may have won.

The COSASE report has recommended that owning to the conflict within the ULC, there should be a complete overhaul of the current commissioners to enhance the performance of the institution.

Only time will tell whether Hon Beatrice Byenkya Nyakaisiki will be rewarded or punished for standing up against the Mafia.


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