Members of Parliament on the Committee of Commissions, Statutory Authorities, and State Enterprises – COSASE on Thursday pinned Lubega and Company Advocates for alleged forgery and defrauding the government of 2.039 Billion Shillings.
The money was part of the 10.6 Billion Shillings supplementary budget that the Uganda Land Commission – ULC paid to Natalia Namuli, one of the six claimants who purportedly sold their land to the Government in Bunyoro and Buganda sub-regions.
It is alleged that on March 18, 2015, the law firm forged the signature of then Masindi High Court Judge, Justice Ralph Ochan, and issued fake letters of administration of the property and credits of the estate of the Late Antwane Kalete.
Through the powers of the Attorney, the law firm being operated by Kyle Lubega and Richard Buzibira reportedly presented Namuli as a granddaughter of Antwane, formerly a resident of Kyamukama village, Buyaga County in Kagadi District.
Namuli, through the law firm, was paid two installments of 450 Million Shillings and later 1.589 Billion Shillings respectively. But she has been a subject of a dispute after ULC Chairperson Beatrice Byenkya Nyakaisiki protested against her payments on grounds of being a ‘ghost claimant.’
An ad hoc Committee of Parliament was instituted to investigate the claims, and subsequently confirmed the interface and existence of Namuli.
Joel Ssenyonyi, the Committee Chairperson summoned Lubega and Buzibira who confirmed the existence of Namuli.
But trouble for the two lawyers ensued when the MPs secretly dispatched Bunny Twesigye, a detective attached to the Committee who went on the ground to investigate the truth about Namuli.
In a report that he read to the Committee, Twesigye revealed that he interviewed Namuli at her home in Nyakasozi village, Nsunga Sub-County in Kagadi where she firmly denied any links with the Late Antwane and matters relating to processing compensations for the deceased’s estates.
According to Twesigye, Namuli recalled that in late 2020, her son-in-law, Peter Amara a businessman and former Chairperson of Kibaale District transported her to Kampala, accommodated her in an undisclosed hotel, and made her sign a series of documents she had no knowledge about.
Twesigye produced a photo he took with the victim and a copy of her national ID confirming the existence of the 79-year-old who was born in 1943. The revelation prompted the MPs to task Lubega, who represented the law firm, to explain who they actually paid.
Lubega apologized for telling lies to the Committee and requested to retract his earlier statement that he had spoken to Namuli in person. He also requested the committee to summon his partner Buzibira to answer more about the transactions because he had limited knowledge.
The MPs were agitated by Lubega’s uncoordinated statements and demanded his detention for further investigation. Ssenyoni handed Lubega to the Criminal Intelligence Investigation Department – CIID at Parliament for further interrogation.
The Committee is also looking for Buzibira who has twice snubbed the summons to answer the queries surrounding their law firm’s involvement in processing the compensation for the victim in question.
Ssenyonyi also produced a letter from Justice Ralph Ochan who confirmed that at the time of the issuance of the purported letter of administration to Namuli in 2015, he had already retired from the Judiciary in 2013 and was serving as the Chairperson of the Public Service Commission.
Following the COSASE probe, two officials of the ULC, Siraj Isabirye, the former Senior Accountant, and Joan Namulondo, the Principal Human Resource Officer were arrested to aid police with further investigations.
Barbara Imaryo, the Commission’s Secretary/Accounting Officer who made the payments without the Board’s approval is currently on the run as her case has been referred to the International Criminal Police Organization – Interpol.