UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | The Inspector General of Government (IGG) and former Minister of Lands, Housing, and Urban Development, Beti Kamya, has finally appeared before the Parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and Enterprises (COSASE) on May 25, 2022, to answer to irregularities in payouts of USh10.6 billion to six land fund claimants.
This was after she had failed to show up a week before after being summoned, citing a “heart attack.”
COSASE is investigating questionable transactions cited in the Auditor General’s report for the Financial Year 2019/2020, that caused the Government to lose billions of Shillings.
One of the most controversial is the USh10.6 billion supplementary budget was irregularly awarded to the Uganda Land Commission (ULC) on Beti Kamya’s orders, when she was still the Minister of Lands.
The six beneficiaries who were compensated with the USh10.6 billion payout include Stephen Peter Nagenda who received USh1.06 billion, Mugisha Geoffrey who received USh1.49 billion, Yisaka Lwakana who received USh125.3 million, Kasiya Rwabukurukuru who received USh6.43 billion, Natalia Namuli who received USh1.6 billion, and Julius Busulwa who received USh1.4 billion.
Some of the claimants were found not to be eligible for the payouts, according to the investigation.
The COSASE chairperson, Joel Ssenyonyi, asked Kamya to explain how she initiated the supplementary budget without the involvement of the ULC, which is in contravention of the Public Finance Management Act, 2015.
Kamya 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.
However, Beatrice Byenkya Nyakaisiki, the suspended chairperson of the ULC, informed the Committee that Kamya did not consult them while initiating the supplementary budget.
“We did not initiate the USh10.6 billion supplementary budget, and I wrote to the then-speaker distancing ourselves from that supplementary budget,” Beatrice said.
Byenkya added that even when the money was released, they attempted to sit down to devise modalities of paying the claimants, but soon realised that the Accounting Officer Barbara Imaryo had already paid the funds to the six beneficiaries.
The investigative committee is currently looking for Barbara Imaryo, who also serves as the ULC Secretary, but she has ignored repeated summonses. Her predecessor, Siraj Isabrye, was arrested 4 weeks ago while testifying before the committee about unexplained payment authorisations.
Beti Kamya firmly disassociated herself from the claims the initiated the payouts. She asserted that the six people named in the petitions were the ones who had been submitted to her office, and it was on this basis that she drafted a letter to the Ministry of Finance asking for the monies.
“What I did was to write a letter, a copy of which is available to the Minister of Finance, asking him to provide funds to Uganda Land Commission to settle some urgent claims,” Kamya told COSASE.
Roland Ndyomugyenyi, the Rukiga County MP, referred to the Auditor General’s findings and questioned why Kamya was only interested in establishing a supplementary budget to pay out the six claimants while leaving out thousands of others with pending claims at the ULC.
“How did you get that information about who to pay? I’m sure there are thousands of claimants, what was so special about the six that you picked?” he asked.
According to Kamya, there was a criteria to pay the six people, and some of the six were recommended by the President.
“Those six are the petitions that I received, I am sure that there are others, but they are the ones I received, one of them being a court order,” she said.
Kamya, when pressed to confirm the Presidential directive, stated that she had the correspondences but had failed to provide them to the parliamentarians. The committee gave her until Monday, May 30th, 2022, two weeks ago, to submit the proof, which included court orders mandating the claimants’ clearance.
WATCH: Beti Kamya has finally appeared before COSASE
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