UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | President Yoweri Museveni has ordered the suspension of top officials at the Uganda Land Commission (ULC). He Further instructed the Inspector General of Government and the State House Anti-Corruption Unit to investigate the allegations raised against ULC Chairperson Beatrice Byenkya and Secretary Ms. Barbarah Imaryo.
Responding to a letter the State House received outlying allegations of misconduct at the ULC, President Museveni, wrote, “Given the nature of allegations that are being made against the Chairperson and Secretary that include corruption, embezzlement, double payments, payment of ghost claimants all leading to loss of huge sums of the government funds, I hereby, suspend them with immediate effect to pave way for investigations.”
He added: “By copy of this latter, I’m directing the Inspector General of Government and the State House Anti-Corruption Unit to investigate the above allegations and any other offences that could have been committed with a view to prosecuting the culprits.”
The IGG had already suspended the two for investigations to be carried out, claiming that early probes into ULC’s administration gave adequate grounds for their arrest.
“It is, therefore, necessary that Byenkya steps aside so that she is not able to interfere with the investigations,” Kamya told the Minister of Lands, Judith Nabakooba in a letter dated November 2021.
“Besides, the public interest demands that a public officer under investigation for abuse of office be interdicted from exercising powers and functions of her/his office for fear that s/he might interfere with investigations,” Kamya, who is Nabakooba’s direct predecessor, wrote.
In a letter dated October 28, 2021, Nabakooba also asked Byenkya and the commissioners to take a two-month break to investigate suspected misuse or abuse of the commission’s resources.
By November 12, they were expected to hand over power to State Minister for Lands, Dr Sam Mayanja.
ULC received Nabakooba’s letter ordering the suspension on November 24, days after Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka determined her move to suspend Byenkya and the commissioners and their secretary Barbara Imaryo unconstitutional.
Mr Kiryowa advised Nabakooba to retract her instruction and instead write to President Yoweri Museveni, who would function as the relevant authority.
Beatrice Byenkya’s Own Calls for Investigations into ULC Officials
On 30th September 2021, ULC Chairperson Beatrice Byenkya blew the whistle on ULC officials 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.
In response to the misconduct allegations, Betty Kamya, Inspector General of Government (IGG), ordered for Byenkya’s interdiction from her position as chairperson of the Commission to pave the way for investigations.
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