Taxpayers’ money amounting to Shs2bn has been paid to a ghost, says Hon Joel Ssenyonyi, the chairperson of the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities, and State Enterprises (COSASE).
On Tuesday, COSASE handed two lawyers, Kyle Lubega and Richard Buzibira, over to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for their role in the saga.
The two are members of a Kampala-based law firm, Lubega & Buzibira Co. Advocates, which represented 79-year-old Nantalia Namuli in the sale of 516 hectares of land in Kagadi district, western Uganda.
The Shs2 billion compensation was part of the Shs10.6 billion supplementary expenditure to the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development in the Financial Year 2020/2021 meant to pay six landlords.
However, the committee on 10 June 2021 received a request from the genuine owner of the land, led by John Kalete Antwane, the representative of the grandchildren of John Kalete, the actual owner of the land stopping any further payment or compensation claiming the people being paid were illegitimate owners.
This is the story:
The 516 hectares of land in Kagadi belong to the late John Kalete. A 79-year-old woman Nantalia Namuli is reportedly the owner of the land. The land is valued at Shs2bn and is due for compensation by the ULC.
However, the committee on 10 June 2021 received a request from the genuine owner of the land, led by John Kalete Antwane, the grandchildren of John Kalete, the actual owner of the land stopping payment or compensation claiming the people being paid were illegitimate owners.
Appearing before COSASE on Wednesday, Warren Mwesigye, the businessman who is implicated in the irregular Shs2bn land compensation from Uganda Land Commission, said he bought a claim from Nantalia Namuli at Shs318m with the hope that when the government pays the Shs2bn, he will make more money.
Peter Amara, the son-in-law to Nantalia, contacted a businessman and also his friend Warren Mwesigye to buy the claim.
A lawyer, Richard Buzibira, was engaged to draft an agreement. In the agreement, Namuli would be selling her interest/claim of shillings 2 billion at Shs318m.
The reason for this was that the old woman would not have to wait for too long to get her Shs2bn, but take the Shs318m, while the businessman would get a profit off his investment of Shs318m.
The money came in 2021. Namuli and her son-in-law did not get a share of this Shs2bn.
The lawyer and businessman insist they paid Shs318m to the landowners.
The Committee interacted with both Namuli and Amara who said they didn’t get any money. Namuli shocked the committee when she said she does not own the land.
Both Businessman Mwesigye and lawyer Buzibira were cited in Justice Catherine Bamugemereire’s investigations on various land deals.
“Businessman Warren Mwesigye bought air, it was a forgery, you have got to refund that money,” concluded Ssenyonyi.