IGG’s Investigations Into Misdeeds At The Uganda Land Commission Is A Good Cause But Aiming At A Wrong Target

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Igg’s Investigations Into The Misdeeds At The Uganda Land Commission Is A Good Cause But Aiming At A Wrong Target.

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I’ve keenly been following the events at the Ministry of Lands and i can state it clearly that what started as genuine effort to fight corruption at ULC has quickly degenerated into a war of ego and witch-hunt between some officials currently and formerly at the Ministry of Lands.

The contraversies that have since engulfed ULC and the Ministry of Lands in general are now within the public domain and anyone keenly following these events can ably make an independent analysis and observations.

Uganda Land Commission is a semi-autonomous land verification, monitoring, and preservation organization, owned by the Government of Uganda.The Commission (ULC) was established in 1995 by the 1995 Constitution under Article 238 and it’s mandated to document, verify, preserve and maintain land owned and/or administered by the government.

The Commission is currently being chaired by Hon. Beatrice Nyakaisiki Byenkya the former Woman MP Hoima district. The Land Act, Cap 227 (section 49) lays out the functions of ULC as follows;

▪️ Hold and manage any land in Uganda which is vested in or acquired by the Government in accordance with the Constitution.

▪️ Where applicable, hold and manage any land acquired by the Government abroad, except that the Commission may delegate the management of such land to Uganda’s Missions abroad.

▪️Procure certificates of title for any land vested in or acquired by the Government;

▪️ Perform such other functions as may be prescribed by or under the Land Act or any other enactment;

▪️ Section 41(2) of the Land Act places management of the Land Fund (LF) under Uganda Land Commission.

My personal analysis of the events at ULC;

The situation at the Lands Ministry appeared to be courteous among the commissioners, technical staff and the political supervisors until Thursday April 22nd, 2021 when the cat was let out of the bag by Hon Beatrice Byenkya Nyakaisiki the Chairperson ULC while appearing before the Adhoc Committee of Parliament.

Here is the shocking story;

According to the reliable sources that attented the Parliamentary Committee proceedings on the 22nd April, 2021, the Chairperson of the Commission Hon. Beatrice Nyakaisiki appeared before the Adhoc Committee of Parliament that was investigating the land compensation related issues.

The Adhoc Committee of Parliament was investigating compensations regarding the land in Ndeeba where an Anglican Church structure was razed down last year. It was also investigating compensations regarding other pieces of land in Lusanja in Wakiso district where scores of families had been evicted by one Medard Kiconco.

The deal unpacked and the racket exposed;

It’s on record that the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development had through the then minister Beti Olive Namisango Kamya sought a supplementary budget of Ugx 12 billion without the involvement of ULC which is mandated to handle land compensations. The said money was ideally meant to compensate the owners of the above said pieces of land and others more.

Break down of the purported supplementary budget;

According to the Ministry of Lands, Ugx 7.65 billion would go to Ephrain Enterprises in lieu of the Ndeeba land and Medard Kiconco for the Lusanja land.

The remaining balance would be shared by the six other landlords and these include; Kosiya Rwabukururu Ugx 6.4 billion, Stephen Nagenda Ugx 1.6 billion, Natalia Namuli Ugx 1.6 billion, Julius Busulwa Ugx 2.2 billion, Yisaka Lwakana Ugx 1.17 billion and Mugisha Geoffrey Ugx 1.5 billion.

Syndicated double payments in land compensations exposed;

Hon. Beatrice Byenkya vehemently reportedly objected to the above proposed payments while appearing before the Adhoc Committee of Parliament.

She rightly presented the files of the said beneficiaries and clearly pointed out the glaring inconsistencies and irregularities in each of them. She provided evidence to the effect that some people had already been paid or others had their property rates exaggerated, while the others were infact non existent.

She reportedly went ahead and presented the files of the said beneficiaries clearly pointing out glaring inconsistencies and irregularities in each of them. She provided evidence to the effect that some people had already been paid, others had their property rates exaggerated, while the others were infact non existent.

Forinstance, in the case of Natalia Namuli, the Commission Chairperson reportedly pointed out that the acreage was inaccurate, while for Busulwa Julius the same property had two files; one in the names of Busulwa Julius and another in the names of Col. Fenekhansi Mugenyi.

She further reportedly revealed to the committee that according to the available records, the said property had already been paid for fully and yet the owners were again seeking for more compensation which would practically make it a double compensation, hence leading to a financial loss on the side of government.

For the case of Geoffrey Mugisha’s compensation forinstance, Hon. Byenkya reportedly observed that the claim was false and Ugx 50 million which was already advanced to the claimant was paid erroneously. This is the same person who had been paraded and cleared by the Ministry for Ugx 1.5 billion compensation. Can u imagine such a magnitude of theft of public funds with impunity?

Hon. Byenkya reportedly revealed to the committee of Parliament that such irregularities in land compensations in the Ministry of Lands are very common, with files looking fine on the face value when in the actual sense they are irregular and fictitious ofcourse with the knowledge of the Ministry officials who have vested interest in the same.

Deadly syndicate exposed;

Sources within Parliament disclosed that Hon. Byenkya told the committee of Parliament that there exists a syndicate at the Ministry of Lands where the staff have interests in the files and therefore they influence whose files for compensation move first.

That land compensation has become a syndicate with top officials at the Ministry identifying the eligible land owners and running to them to crack deals for financial kickbacks.

She reportedly disclosed to the committee that there are people whose compensation have been pending since 2008 simply because they don’t know their way around. She gave an example of one Frank Ndondo from Kabarole who’s supposed to be compensated Ugx 8 billion since 2008, yet he has never been paid to-date.

So what’s wrong with Hon. Byenkya doing what she did if truly this government is committed to fighting corruption as i want to believe? Under normal circumstances, what she did is indeed an act of patriotism aimed at saving the tax payer’s money from being swindled and she should be seen to be applauded instead of being unfairly harrassed. Such a gesture by the anti graft institutions risks discouraging the would be anti corruption ambassadors that would be willing to make a contribution in the fight against the vice in this country in future.

An appeal to the committee of Parliament.

Hon. Beatrice appealed to Parliament to allow ULC to take charge of the compensations since it’s the commission that’s mandated by law to handle land compensations. She further appealed to the committee not to tag the Ugx 12 billion to the six individuals or even the Church and Lusanja land owner Medard Kiconco. It’s at this point that it turned out that Benkya had touched the nerves of those powerful individuals who had already aligned themselves to benefit from the reported fraudulent land compensation funds.

Little did Hon. Beatrice Nyakaisiki know that by making such an appeal she had opened a can of worms against herself in the eyes of the champions of deals at the Lands Ministry and their agents.

She also disclosed to the committee of Parliament that although the Ministry of Lands then under Hon. Beti Kamya requested for a supplementary budget for compensations, the Ministry already had Ugx 40 billion in it’s budget for the same. Now one wonders what purpose was that supplementary budget of Ugx 12 billion meant for since there was already a whooping Ugx 40 billion meant for compensations?

How does one describe such magnitude of corruption and theft of public funds? What breed of impunity is this sincerely? Are such individuals really upto the task to serve this country atleast above average? Are they really helping the President and government to fight corruption? Or are they simply the champions of corruption?

Whistle blower now turned suspect? What an irony!

The said supplementary budget of Ugx 12 billion was at the verge of being tabled by Hon. Beti Kamya who’s now investigating the person who implicated her and it was going to be passed by Parliament in the afternoon of that very day had it not been challenged by Hon. Beatrice Byenkya now turned “suspect”. It’s the whistle that was blown by her that prompted Parliament to first halt the process pending investigations.

It’s therefore important for the public to be made to appreciate the circumstances under which Byenkya has been turned “suspect” and moreso being investigated by the institution headed by the former Minister who was once implicated by her, lest it’s taken for a witch hunt.

Whereas what Hon. Beatrice Byenkya did is extremely plausible and in the best interest of the country, it appears that she in the process stepped on the toes of some individuals both inside and outside government who are determined to benefit from such fraudulent transactions.

It hurts to see someone who was the first to raise an alarm against corruption in the commission being ganged against by a group of individuals who believe that her actions are an obstacle to their financial interests. Hon. Byenkya is just doing her job as mandated by the 1995 constitution under article 239 and the Land Act 2010 as amended.

The individuals allegedly at the center of the said fictitious compensations are reportedly accusing Byenkya for having acted in bad faith. Really? One wonders what would have happened if she had turned a blind eye on the said suspected syndicated corruption. Maybe she would have been praised for acting in “good faith”. Maybe there would now be “harmony” at ULC.

While appearing before the Adhoc Committee of Parliament, Hon. Beatrice Byenkya clearly pointed out the role that the then Minister and now IGG Hon. Beti Olive Kamya played in the supplementary budget of Ugx 12 billion that’s now under scrutiny and the two officials openly clashed.

Isn’t this conflict of interest by the IGG?

Based on the above background, it’s just obvious that Hon. Beatrice Byenkya can’t get the desired justice from the institution of the IGG that’s being headed by one of the people she once implicated. It’s absolutely impossible!

It’s public knowledge that the current Inspector General of Government (IGG) Hon. Beti Kamya is the immediate former political supervisor to the current Chairperson of ULC Hon. Beatrice Nyakaisiki Byenkya.

Ofcourse I’ve seen on the social media the letter signed by IGG Hon. Beti Olive Namisango Kamya and addressed to the Minister for Lands Hon. Judith Nabakoba okaying her to go ahead and interdict the Chairperson of ULC Hon Beatrice Byenkya. Whereas this is inorder, the circumstances at hand deny the IGG the moral authority to investigate corruption in ULC due to the possible lack of impartiality.

In Uganda, we have various institutions that are mandated to investigate corruption. Besides, where lack of impartiality may be cited in those institutions, the President or Parliament reserves the right to constitute a special investigations committee to handle a particular matter of public concern to it’s logical conclusion.

It therefore makes me wonder what exactly compelled Minister Judith Nabakoba to write to the IGG to take up this matter, fully aware that Hon. Beti Olive Kamya is her immediate predecessor and besides she’s being implicated in the same contraversies by Hon. Benkya whom she’s now investigating in her capacity as IGG. Really? This is a concern that you can’t just ignore!

How do you expect the IGG not to be accused of conflict of interest in such a scenario where she’s also an accused party by virtue of her previous roles at the Ministry unless we’re suggesting that the former Minister is going to investigate herself as well?

From reliable sources closely working within the Committee of Parliament, it’s said that Hon. Beatrice Byenkya was the first ULC official to blow the whistle including implicating the now IGG Hon. Beti Olive Kamya and called for immediate investigations into suspected fraudulent transactions by some officials at the Lands Ministry.

Hon. Byenkya reportedly went ahead and tipped off police CID to interest itself in the matter and indeed investigations commenced immediately and some technical staff at the Lands Ministry were arrested before the IGG surprisingly took over the matter on the request of Minister Judith Nabakoba under unclear circumstances.

The IGG straight away went for the supposedly whistle blower Hon. Beatrice Byenkya and recommended that she be interdicted and investigated for the abuse and misuse of the Commission’s resources. How i wish she was the right culprit being targeted by the IGG. Unfortunately, common sense doesn’t seem to support this narrative.

Interestingly, this is purely an accountability query and it shocked many to see the IGG preferring a decisive action against the Commission’s Chairperson who moreover was the first one to raise the red flag while leaving the accounting officer and other technical staff at large until recently when she recommended that the secretary also be interdicted perhaps due to public uproar.

Whistle Blowers Act 2010.

Part V of the whistle blowers Act of 2010 under section 9 clearly talks about protection of the whistle blower from victimisation.

Section 9(1) of the Act states that a person shall not be subjected to any victimisation by his or her employer or by any other person on
account, or partly on account of having made a protected disclosure.

Section 9(2) states that a whistle blower shall be considered victimized on account of making a protected disclosure where;
(a) the whistleblower being an employee is;
(i) dismissed
(ii) suspended
(iii) denied promotion
(iv) demoted
(v) made redundant
(vi) harrassed
(vii) intimidated
(viii) threatened with any of the matters set out in (i) to (vii).
(ix) subjected to a discriminatory or other adverse measure by the employer or a fellow
employee.

Section 9(3)of the Act states that; a whistle blower who honestly and reasonably believes that he or she has been victimized as a result of
his or her disclosure may make a complaint to either the Inspectorate of Government or Uganda Human Rights Commission for redress.

Section 9(4) not withstanding subsection (3), a whistleblower may seek redress for victimisation by bringing a civil action in court of law.

Section 9(10) talks about protection against court action. It states that
a whistle blower shall not be liable to civil or criminal proceedings in respect of a disclosure that contravenes any duty of confidentiality or official secrecy law where the whistleblower acts in good faith.

Incidentally, the same Act under section 9(3) places the IGG as it’s custodian. However, the conduct of the IGG in this ULC saga leaves alot to be desired. It falls short of the expectations of section 9(3) of the Whistle Blowers Act 2010.

The role that the ULC Chairperson played in this particular case is equivalent to a whistle blower’s and therefore under normal circumstances, she deserves to be protected by the very IGG who instead is being seen to be going after her. What a contradiction!

This tantamount to victimization of the whistle blower that the Whistle Blowers Act 2010 clearly talks about under section 9(2). This could as well be interpreted as conflict of interest which is legally unacceptable!

Powerful and untouchable secretary.

It’s believed that the current Commission’s Secretary is very powerful and almost beyond any kind of reprimand and her security detail is said to be extraordinarily elaborate. If this is true, then it clearly points to the fact that she’s is either an extraordinary personality within ULC or she’s closely associated with a very powerful person(s) within the corridors of power and thus the impunity.

Minister raises concern about the theft and corruption in the Ministry of Lands.

It should also be noted that earlier, the State Minister for Lands Hon Sam Mayanja had expressed concern over the growing corruption in the Ministry of Lands and particularly ULC. The Minister went ahead and proposed that the Commission and the Ministry’s technical staff be investigated and moreso the accounting officers.

Forinstance, in the previous quarter of the FY, Ugx 100m was released by the commission to the senior land officer meant for the procurement of a survey equipment which has never been procured to-date and yet the money remains unaccounted for.

Shockingly, another Ugx 100m has reportedly been included in the commission’s budget for this quarter again meant for the procurement of the same equipment which was never procured despite the funds being released. What magnitude of theft with impunity is this sincerely?

Police prompted by the whistle blower Beatrice Byenkya swings into action.

I’ve learnt that Byenkya in her capacity as the Commission’s Chairperson, she raised the red flag three times against the contraversial compensations in question. On the third attempt, she lodged a complaint at Kibuli CID Police headquarters in a bid to rid the Commission of syndicated corruption in land compensations and allocations. This ofcourse is said to have put her on a collision path with the fellow commissioners and a host of technocrats at the Lands Ministry, the majority of whom have risen up in arms against her. It’s not by accident!

Daily Monitor of Thursday, October 07, 2021 reported that fraudulent transactions by some of the technical staff and commissioners at ULC have led to the loss of about Ugx 25 billions in a period of more than two years and indeed this led to the arrest of three senior technical staff of ULC namely; Denis Musinguzi the senior land officer, Otim Jaramogi an accountant and Noah Wambigi the Auditor.

Police CID said that the trio and others still at large would allegedly register different beneficiaries for the same property, compelling the government to make double payments. It’s said that the suspects always looked out for the beneficiaries with more than two names to execute their fraudulent acts.

Police investigations indicate that some bank accounts are in the names different from those due for compensation prompting police to hunt for those individuals who withdrew the money that was sent to different bank accounts by ULC officials.

In other cases according to police investigations, the suspects reportedly paid money to beneficiaries but the ULC officials would deliberately not transfer the land titles of the properties into government names. This is by all standards an outright syndicated theft of public funds that has led to financial loss to the government of Uganda.

Motor vehicle procurement scandal.

Additionally, the Commission reportedly released Ugx 750 million through the accounting officer for the procurement of atleast 2 new brand double cabin pickups and a SUV pending more funding for additional vehicles.

Shockingly, the culprits reportedly procured two used double cabin pickups and a SUV purportedly from NITA-U where one of the ULC top officials was formerly employed before joining ULC and yet the car sales agreements clearly show that the used cars were sold by a different seller. This therefore implies that NITA-U was just used as a conduit to swindle the Commission’s money in a syndicated arrangement when in the actual sense it wasn’t the seller of the said used cars. This is just part of the theft with impunity that Byenkya exposed before the committee of Parliament.

This is outright fraud with glaring impunity that Hon. Beatrice Byenkya exposed and surprisingly, she has since been turned into a suspect by both the Minister for Lands in conjunction with the IGG who happens to be the immediate former Minister for Lands. The real suspects with their finger prints everywhere are left to enjoy their freedom in their offices while the whistle blower is being threatened with interdiction and investigations. What an irony!

The racket was exposed by the Chairperson of ULC Hon. Beatrice Byenkya while appearing before the Adhoc Committee of Parliament and she’s now reportedly being accused and punished for having acted in bad faith. Can you imagine?

Is it witch-hunt or a concealment attempt?

However, to the surprise of everyone, Minister Hon. Judith Nabakoba and the IGG Hon. Betty Kamya have since sought it appropriate to go after the Chairperson of ULC who moreover was the first to expose the stinking corruption in the Lands Commission to be the one to be interdicted and investigated for the possible criminal charges while leaving the real suspects at large. This must be a real joke especially if we claim to be committed to fighting corruption in this country.

Infact it’s until recently that the IGG moved to also recommend the interdiction and investigation of Commission’s Secretary who by the way is the accounting officer for the ULC possibly due to public concern and pressure. But did it necessitate the IGG to wait for the public to mount pressure inorder for her to “take action”? Is the fight against corruption meant to be discriminatory by the IGG? Isn’t this whole matter being handled with biasness by the IGG and the Minister? What motivates the duo to act in a manner in which they’re sincerely?

Is it a fight against corruption anymore or is it just a case of someone using her office (IGG) to fight personal wars either in revenge or concealment of the possible incriminating evidence against herself? This is ridiculous! I repeat this is ridiculous!

Whereas it’s lawful to interdict any public officer who may be found with cases to answer inline with his or her official duties, it’s suspect for the IGG to hurriedly recommend an interdiction and investigations of Hon. Beatrice Byenkya on matters of accountability and moreso when she isn’t even the Commission’s accounting officer. Any right thinking mind would doubt and question the motive by the IGG and rightly so.

As someone who once implicated the former Lands Minister and now IGG, her interdiction on the recommendation by the same person could be interpreted as an ill intended move meant to frustrate fruitful investigations by any would be impartial investigating body other than the institution of IGG. The IGG ought to keep out of the investigations in ULC since she may also be found to be having some cases to answer as an immediate former political supervisor of the Lands docket.

Many elders and opinion leaders mainly from Bunyoro who have known Hon. Byenkya’s public life for a long time are wondering how the lady known for being incorruptible could end up being accused and investigated for what she has always stood against (corruption). The people of Uganda are closely watching with deep concern the injustice that’s being meted out to Byenkya with impunity.

It leaves everyone wondering if this is the price someone who comes out to fight corruption in the public sector in Uganda has to pay and definitely this will affect the morale of the would be anti graft ambassadors in future.

If Hon. Beatrice Byenkya is interdicted as recommended by the IGG Hon. Betty Kamya for her role and resolve to wipe corruption out of ULC, it will definitely create a regrettable precedent in the fight against corruption in Uganda. It will demoralize cadres who may want to have a firm stand against corruption in public offices in Uganda in future under the current administration.

Latest contraversial developments at ULC;

It’s important to note that the Chairperson of the Commission is an appointee by the President of the republic of Uganda and by law, a Presidential appointee can’t be interdicted by the Minister unlike the civil servants that are recruited through the Ministry of Public Service or Public Service Commission.

In this case therefore, the law doesn’t allow Minister Judith Nabakoba to interdict the Chairperson of ULC Hon. Beatrice Byenkya even though IGG Hon. Betty Kamya recommended so under unclear circumstances.

The law however supports the Minister to write to the appointing authority in this case the President recommending an interdiction or removal from office of the Chairperson of ULC with clearly laid out facts to justify the same.

Is it mob justice?

For the first time in the history of public service in Uganda, Hon Beatrice Byenkya Nyakaisiki the Chairperson of ULC was “interdicted” without an interdiction letter but rather a mere recommendation by the IGG. She has since been denied to perform her duties as ULC Chairperson on the basis of a mere recommendation by the IGG with no any letter of interdiction.

The Minister for Lands Hon. Judith Nabakoba rightly wrote to the President seeking his intervention, but she couldn’t be patient enough to wait for his response and guidance to that effect.

She has since reportedly without any documented instructions by H.E the President moved and instructed the other commissioners of ULC to sit and select amongst themselves the Acting Chairperson of ULC and resume duties of the Commission.

Effectively, on Tuesday 7th December, 2021 the Commissioners convened in the absence of Hon. Beatrice Byenkya at the ULC board room and selected Prof. Pen-mogi Nyeko to serve as the Acting Chairperson of ULC. It’s very clear that the law doesn’t provide for the position of Acting Chairperson of ULC.

It’s not any where in the Land Act, not even in the constitution. Such a move is outrightly illegal and the Attorney General ought to have guided before such a glaring blunder could be committed to save the Minister and government from such an embarrassment, unless it’s no longer about the law but witch-hunt. This is an outright attempt to usurp the powers of the appointing authority (President) and it’s illegal.

The Land Act 2010 as amended.

Part IV of the Uganda Land Act 2010 as amended under section
46 it talks about the establishment of the commission.

Section 46 (1) states that there shall be a commission to be to known as the Uganda Land Commission.

Section 47 talks about membership of the Commission. Section 47(1) states that the commission shall consist of a chairperson and not less than four other members appointed by the President with the approval of Parliament.

Section 48(2) of the Land Act as amended highlights the circumstances under which a member of the commission can be removed from office by the President and these include;

a) inability to perform the functions of his or her office arising from infirmity of body or mind;
b) misbehaviour or misconduct or incompetence.

Section 50(1) talks about the secretary and other officers of the commission. It states that; there shall be a secretary to the commission who shall be a public officer appointed by the President on the advice of the Public Service Commission upon such terms and conditions as may be specified in the letter of appointment.

Section 50(3) states that; the secretary shall not be a member of the commission but shall conduct the correspondence of the commission, keep records and perform such other functions as the commission may direct. Section 50(4) states that; the secretary shall keep custody of the seal of the commission.

Section 50(5) states that; the commission shall have such other officers and employees as may be necessary for the discharge of it’s functions, and those officers or employees shall be appointed by the Public Service Commission on such terms and conditions as may be specified in their letters of appointment.

Now section 48(2) of the land act is very clear on who removes a member of the commission from office. It clearly emphasizes that it’s a responsibility of the President of Uganda to remove or appoint a member of the commission.

Is it insubordination?

In this case therefore, the Chairperson of ULC Hon Beatrice Byenkya can only lawfully be removed from office by the President and not Minister and i strongly believe that this is the reason why the Minister’s hasn’t written an interdiction letter to Hon. Beatrice Byenkya because she lacks the legal basis to do so. She doesn’t have any relevant sections of the law to quote in justification for her decision and thus resorting to mob justice. It’s indeed an embarrassment to the government of Uganda!

The Minister can only recommend to the President the removal of a member of the Commission with very strong grounds to that effect. Hon. Judith Nabakoba rightly wrote to the President drawing his attention to the woes in ULC and she ought to have waited for the President’s response or reaction rather than rush to put in place an Acting Chairperson of ULC in the names of Prof Pen-Mogi Nyeko, an arrangement that’s not provided for in the laws of the land. This is an illegal move by the Minister and it won’t go unchallenged.

The law says that the chairperson of the commission shall be appointed by the President and approved by parliament.

The fact that Prof Pen-Mogi Nyeko was selected by fellow commissioners instead of being appointed by the President to that office, the fact that he’s not approved by Parliament to perform the duties of Chairperson of ULC, the fact that there’s no any provision for the position of Acting Chairperson of ULC in the Land Act or any other relevant laws of the land, then it’s outrightly clear that this is an illegality that must even be challenged in the competent courts of law.

There’s an urgent need to challenge and stop this growing impunity among some of these public officers in Uganda. This is unacceptable! It’s unprecedented!

You see even when the term of the previous Chairperson of ULC Hon. Baguma Isoke expired, the commissioners didn’t choose amongst themselves the Acting Chairperson. Never! Instead they waited for good months until the President appointed a substantive Chairperson inorder for ULC to resume it’s duties because that’s what the law stipulates.

I have reliably gathered that the Lands Commission being chaired by the Acting Chairperson has with the help of senior finance officer Mr. Walter Jokenne already generated a list of the people to be compensated. They have already moved to resume the land compensation process that the Adhoc Committee of Parliament suspended pending investigations after Hon. Beatrice Byenkya blew the whistle.

The challenge is that the transactions by the commission that’s illegally constituted risk being challenged in the courts of law in future and again this could lead to significant financial loss to government.

All this is because Minister Judith Nabakoba has decided to perform the duties of the President by illegally and informally “interdicting” Hon. Beatrice Byenkya from the office of the Chairperson ULC without any interdiction letter but rather on a mere recommendation of the former Lands Minister and now IGG Hon. Betty Kamya.

Such a move by the Minister and IGG raises so many questions about the motive of the duo and it can as well tantamount to insubordination.

It’s not clear whether Minister Judith Nabakoba consulted with the Attorney General to offer legal guidance in her decision and actions. I don’t think that with the guidance of the Attorney General, the Minister would have proceeded to act in a manner that she did.

The law supports the Minister to interdict officers and employees that are recruited into the commission by the Public Service Commission and not members of the commission that are appointed by the President. Any attempt to interdict a Presidential appointee by the Minister can only be regarded as insubordination. This is an attempt to usurp the powers of the Chief Executive of the Uganda government (President) and it’s illegal and therefore unacceptable.

Conclusion;

Aware that H.E the President and the NRM government are committed to fighting and defeating corruption, i pray that the President calls to order all the conflicting parties at ULC with a view of refocusing them to their rightful roles and therefore reconciliation and ensure that they get back to work and serve the people of Uganda diligently. The people of Uganda want services and that’s what we expect from the Lands Commission.

It’s my considered prayer that the President finds it convenient to look into all the details of the contraversies at ULC and also appreciate the spirit in which the Commission’s Chairperson acted.

She’s simply being aggressive in fulfilling the objective of the appointing authority (President) which is to fight corruption. President Museveni’s stand against corruption is very clear; Zero tolerate to corruption and this is exactly the spirit in which Hon. Beatrice Byenkya acted. She’s simply fulfilling the will of the Head of State, government and the majority of the people of Uganda.

It’s therefore illogical to see someone who blew the whistle being harrassed for relentlessly and rightly doing her job. Such a trend risks setting a terrible precedent in the fight against corruption in Uganda.

I pray that the President finds it necessary to advise the IGG who is the immediate former Minister for Lands to excuse herself from investigating matters that concern the docket for which she was the political head until recently for avoidance of the possible conflict of interest as it has already started to manifest.

I pray that the President appoints a special team of investigators to impartially probe the contraversies in the Lands Ministry and ULC in particular in a bid to find a lasting solution.

There’s an urgent need to restore sanity at ULC to enable Ugandans to continue getting services. Halting the activities of ULC in a move intended to kick out the Chairperson for her firm stand against corruption can only hurt Ugandans and the economy.

The writer is a concerned citizen of Uganda, bamweza@yahoo.com


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