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Witness Contradictions Shock MPs in Namuli’s UGX 2Bn Land Probe :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Witness Contradictions Shock MPs in Namuli’s UGX 2Bn Land Probe

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On Tuesday, three witnesses including Peter Amara, Namuli's son-in-law, Kyle Lubega, and Richard Bizibira from Lubega & Buzibira Company Advocates, the city law firm that acted on behalf of the claimant gave parallel testimonies while appearing jointly before the MPs.
28 Jun 2022 20:10
Witness Peter Amara (L) looks at a file being shown to him by Joel Ssenyonyi (R) and Lucy Akello (C) look on. Photo by Dominic Ochola_URN

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Legislators probing the contentious Shillings 2.039 billion compensation to Natalia Namuli by the Uganda Land Commission– ULC  were treated to more shocking revelations Tuesday when witnesses gave more contradicting accounts.

Namuli, 79, is considered a ‘ghost’ among the six claimants who sold their land to the Government in 2015 and were hurriedly paid Shillings 10.6 billion. The money compensation money originated from an unlawful supplementary budget initiated by the former Lands, Housing, and Urban Development Minister, Beti Kamya.

On Tuesday, three witnesses including Peter Amara,  Namuli's son-in-law, Kyle Lubega, and Richard Bizibira from Lubega & Buzibira Company Advocates, the city law firm that acted on behalf of the claimant gave parallel testimonies while appearing jointly before the MPs.

While in an earlier appearance Lubega told the MPs that in 2020 Namuli walked to their chambers seeking legal aid to push for delayed compensation from the Government. However, his partner Buzibira told the committee that they linked up with the client through Amara.

The MPs on the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities, and State Enterprises – COSASE learned that Buzibira first met Namuli on July 22nd, 2020, and three days later he (Lubega) linked Namuli to a broker identified as Warren Mwesigye. 

Ironically, Buzibira told the Committee that the broker opted to buy Namuli’s claim of Shillings 2.039 billion at Shillings 318million only. Lubega had in a separate appearance earlier on revealed that Buzibira withdrew the money from the bank and delivered it to the client in cash.

Buzibira further revealed that when ULC released the money, they deducted 10 percent in legal fees and channeled the remaining money to the broker. However, on the contrary, Amara revealed to the Committee that Namuli has never received the Shillings 318 million that Buzibira said the broker paid.

//Cue in: “To be honest…

Cue out…Warren was not there,”//

Amara also shocked the MPs when he stated that Namuli traveled to Kampala on July 22nd, 2020 using a taxi to process her claims. He claimed that he picked Namuli from the taxi park before leading her to Buzibira’s law firm where she presented her land title and gave the lawyers powers of the attorney.

But Lucy Akello, the Amuru District Woman Representative who doubles as Committee’s Vice-Chairperson tasked Amara to explain how it was possible for Namuli to travel to Kampala at the time when the country was under total lockdown that saw government suspend public transport.

//Cue in: “Actually Mr. Amara…

Cue out…not allowed to move.”//

Notably, the ULC represented by Daniel Mugulusi, the Accounting Officer was tasked to explain why the Commission proceeded to pay the claimants yet the family of Late Antwane Kalete had written a letter disowning Namuli as a member of the deceased's family. 

The Solicitor General also wrote a June 10th, 2021 letter advising the ULC to halt the payment to Namuli because she was not a legitimate claimant for the land measuring 516 acres in Kibaale District. Mugulusi responded that it is a matter of time, and the Commission will review its next course of action.

//Cue in: “This is a matter…

Cue out…can be instituted.”//

The witnesses who were first put on oath because of uncoordinated statements, specifically Lubega and his partner Buzibira were later on handed over to the Police Division of Parliament for further questioning before they were released.

Elija Okupa, the Kasilo County MP requested an adjournment of the meeting to allow them to devise new methods of cross-examining the witnesses. Joel Ssenyonyi, the Committee Chairperson adjourned the meeting to a later date yet to be communicated.