State Minister for Lands, Persis Namuganza appearing before the Land Commission.
Parliament has adopted a committee recommendation seeking to hold the Minister of State for Housing, Persis Namuganza accountable for abuse of office.
Namuganza is also accused of misleading Uganda Land Commission –ULC into allocation of the Nakawa-Naguru land to individuals and entities following Presidential Directives which were non-existent.
The damning condemnation is carried under the report by Parliament’s Adhoc Committee that has been investigating the distribution of 82.05 acres of Nakawa-Naguru land.The report was presented to parliament on Wednesday by Kazo County MP, Dan Kimosho.
Kimosho also recommends that parliament urges President Yoweri Museveni to temporarily relieve Minister Namuganza of her duties to pave way for investigation by the relevant organs of government.
In January 2022, the ULC revised earlier allocations of land at Nakawa-Naguru and distributed 15 acres to the Internal Medicine of Virginia, 10 acres to Uganda Heart Institute, 3.09 acres to KCCA Nakawa Division offices, 1 acre to Naguru Infant Primary School, 1.05 acres to St. Peters Church of Uganda, 2 acres Ntinda Whole Sellers 2 acres and others.
Other beneficiaries were investors Anil Damani 3 acres, Seven Hills Apartments 4 acres, Arab Oil Supplies and Exploration Limited 4 acres, Dashen (U) Limited 3 acres, Dembe Enterprises Limited 3 acres, Dominion Partners Limited 1 acre, EACOM International Limited 1 acre, Rudra Hardware 4 acres, and others.
The committee observed that a review of the land application data established that Minister Persis Namuganza, the then Minister of State for Lands, brought to the attention of ULC ‘Presidential directives’ for allocation of land to entities yet such presidential directives were not documented, traced or even availed to the committee.
“A case in point is a letter dated 24th January 2020 the Minister brought to the attention of the Chairperson ULC, entities and persons whom the President is purported to have issued directives for allocation of land. These entities included Anil Damani, Seven Hills and Princeton Children’s Medical Centre,” reads part of the committee report.
Kimosho told parliament that these ‘Presidential Directives’ were non-existent and Anil Damani denied ever writing the letter to the Minister and the signature appended to it.
“It was also observed that Hon. Namuganza Persis abused her office and authority by directing ULC to allocate land to entities while purporting to communicate Presidential directives which were non-existent,” Kimosho added.
Kimosho also reported the undue interference by Ministers and other government officials in the process leading to the re-entry of the Naguru land. The Committee says that this portrayed Government in bad light and resulted into financial loss upon the Ministers being found in contempt of Court and being ordered to pay 50 million Shillings a cost that was borne by Government.
The Ministers included, Mwesigwa Rukutana, former Deputy Attorney General, Betty Amongi, former Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, and Baguma Isoke, the former Chairperson of the ULC.
The Committee recommended that the monies that were ordered by Court to be paid by individual Ministers but paid by government be recovered from them.
During the debate on the committee report, Robert Migadde, the Buvuma Island MP said that the Eleventh parliament needs to take action and censure the ministers involved in the irregularities.
Said Migadde: “You could not have a satellite city in Nakawa when Kampala is close here. There was duping from the start. Let us have our peak as the Eleventh Parliament by censuring those who were involved.”
John Teira, the Bugabula North MP also condemned the act of (mis)using the President’s name to have the fraudulent decisions taken.
“This business of the Front Bench inviting the president to launch fake projects must stop, why are you maligning my president and involving him in this fraudulent business?” he demanded. “Anyone found culpable must be held accountable.”
Mathias Mpuuga, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament called for a thorough investigation into activities of ULC saying that many scandals are unveiled at the entity annually despite removal of several leaders. He also supported the committee’s recommendation to hold Minister Namuganza accountable.
In response to the committee report, Minister Namuganza said that the MPs needed to take into consideration his letter to ULC saying that it had not been clearly captured by the Adhoc Committee. She tabled her letter before parliament but a section of MPs said that the Minister had presented the letter to the committee and dully captured.
Rukia Nakadama, the Third Deputy Prime Minister said that government was going to consider the report by parliament and that a treasury memorandum would be presented to the House on actions taken in two months.