Top officials of the embattled Uganda Land Commission – ULC under the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development are facing investigation by the Inspectorate of Government over alleged mismanagement and financial fraud.
Among the officials being probed are Beatrice Byenkya Nyakaisiki and the suspended ULC Chairperson and the Secretary/Accounting Officer Barbara Imaryo were suspended from office following a directive by President Yoweri Museveni.
In his letter dated March 16th 2022, Museveni suspended the duo citing the nature of allegations against them that include corruption, embezzlement, double payments, payment of ghost claimants leading to loss of huge sums of the government funds.
Prior to the President’s directive, Judith Nabakooba the Minister of Lands had petitioned him in 2021 citing alleged corruption, fraudulent land transactions and power struggle within the Commission that had brought work to a standstill.
During the same period, Nabakooba had earlier written to the IGG, also former Lands Minister Beti Olive Namisango Kamya Turomwe on October 7th 2021 asking her to investigate Nyakaisiki’s conduct. The IGG wrote back to Nabakooba on November 18 advising her to interdict Nyakaisiki with immediate effect.
Trouble started with the Auditor General’s report for FY 2020/2021 which queried the expenditure of funds at ULC. For instance, the payables balance for land compensation was 128 billion Shillings as at June 30, 2020. However, the relevant documents for the liability of 9.4 billion Shillings were not availed to the Auditor for review sparking doubts.
ULC top leadership including then minister Kamya and Nyakaisiki have been appearing before Parliament’s Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises – COSASE for questioning in regards to their involvement in various questionable transactions.
The lawmakers questioned Kamya on the 10.6 billion Shillings supplementary budget she allegedly originated to offset six land claimants; two of whom are ghost beneficiaries while others received double payments.
But Nyakaisiki revealed that while Minister Nabakooba’s letter prompted President Museveni’s letter, Kamya first wrote to the Minister recommending her to be interdicted which denoted a personal vendetta to settle.
In her response, Kamya explained that she first received a petition from Minister Nabakooba and later received another petition from the Land Commissioner requesting her to investigate Nyakaisiki and had to order her to step aside to pave the way for investigations.
Mpindi Bumali, the MP for Persons with Disabilities – PWDs expressed concern over the impartiality of the Inspectorate in conclusively investigating the intricacies at the ULC since it equally touches Kamya, the supervisor of the institution who also supervised the troubled Commission as Lands Minister for one and half years, the period the Audit report shone light on to expose the rot.
Nonetheless, Kamya rubbished the fears that she could peddle influence to interfere with the investigation process, saying the probe is being conducted by a professional ombudsman and can be determined by Court should there be need.
While both Kamya and Nyakaisiki were appointed by the President, the duo has been operating under strained relationships. Nyakaisiki was also at loggerheads with the suspended Accounting Officer Barbara Imaryo, but the officer-turned-fugitive has been in good books with Kamya, though she has been on the run since snubbing the COSASE probe.
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