Minister Mutagamba Testifies In Namanve Land Giveaway

Tourism minister Maria Mutagamba on Wednesday appeared in court to testify against two National Forestry Authority (NFA) former employees. They are accused of preparing and approving 200 acres of land in Namanve Central Reserve Forest to be used by an investor but without the approval of the entire NFA board.

The minister, who appeared before the Anti Corruption Court, was testifying against Mr Jackson Andrua Hudson, then Acting Executive Director and Mr Michael Angol, then Board Member.

In her testimony in chief, the minister informed court presided over by Justice David Wangutusi that the two suspects did not follow the NFA procurement rules while they worked on the paper work to parcel out the land.

She explained to court that the two suspects should have sought the decision of the entire six-member but board but instead side-lined it.

The minister appeared in court in her previous capacity as minister for Water and Environment since she was the line minister in connection to NFA matters.

Mr Andrua and Mr Angol are facing charges of abuse of office for allegedly preparing and approved a grant of license to Midland Holdings for use of 200 acres of land without the approval of the entire six-member board or the procurement rules.

The land in question was to be used to build a satellite city with modern housing and shopping mall.

The minister during cross examination by a team of four defense lawyers led by Charles Dalton Oponya, stated that the government did not suffer any financial loss in this aborted agreement between NFA and Midland.

Ms Mutagamba was the fifth prosecution witness and also the last witness with the prosecution closing its case.

According to court documents, Mr Angol had no mandate to sign the license agreement on behalf of the board without the board’s resolution and authority for him to act on their behalf and that the then board chairman, Mr Buyinza Mugandasi who was not aware of all this.

The prosecution claims that apart from lacking board approval, the entire transaction was handled contrary to the procurement laws and license agreement was without clearance from the attorney general as required by law.

Court will resume tomorrow at 10am to hear submissions of no case to answer before a ruling can be made on whether the duo has a case to answer or not.

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