City lawyers Kyle Lubega (pictured) and Richard Buzibira have been arrested by Parliament Police.
This was after it was revealed that they hatched the plan for the sale of compensation interest for land purportedly owned by Namuli Nantalia at Shs318M to businessman Warren Mwesigye, who ended up being paid by Uganda Land Commission (ULC) Shs2.3bn for land allegedly located in Kagadi district.
The revelation came during an interface between lawyers from Lubega and Buzibira Company Advocates alongside officials from ULC and the Committee of Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) that is investigating circumstances under which Government paid Shs10bn in land compensation to ghosts.
Buzibira said that he first met Namuli and her son-in-law Peter Amara on 22nd July 2020 and about 4-5days later, Namuli returned with Amara and businessman Warren Mwesigye informing her lawyer of her decision to sell her interests after spending over five years trying to process her compensation from Government in vain.
“They told me that Namuli had decided to sell her compensation interest in Uganda Land Commission to Warren Mwesigye. I explained to Namuli the effect of the decision she was taking and indeed I captured it in the agreement that I drew for the parties. She told me that she had chased payment for the last 5years and shew was not getting it, and she is an old woman who stays with a sick sister and she thought it better to sell her interests. Warren paid her 318,875,000M in cash in my presence,” he explained.
Buzibira added that since Namuli had already commenced the process of compensation in ULC, the parties agreed that the compensation should continue to be processed in her names and when the money was paid, the law firm took off legal fees to an equivalent of 10% and the rest of the money was handed over to Mwesigye.
The featuring of Mwesigye’s name as the actual beneficiary of the compensation attracted queries from lawmakers like Joel Ssenyonyi, Chairperson COSASE who questioned Buzibira why he hid the identity of the person who received the actual compensation from Government.
“What is interesting is that, the name Warren Mwesigye is surfacing right now. We interfaced with you and your account was that your client Namuli came to your office with all these documents, there was no mention of the name Warren. And you told us that you eventually got the money and paid Namuli cash. What has changed now? How comes you have changed your statements? Who do you want us to believe?”asked Ssenyonyi.
However, Buzibira replied saying he declined to first reveal Mwesigye’s name because it was privileged information between him and the client noting, “I thought it wasn’t necessary at that time to reveal Warren Mwesigye because that was never the question.”
Ssenyonyi however pointed Buzibira to article 90 of the constitution that gives Committees of Parliament powers of High Court to produce witnesses and compel them to produce documents remarking, “We are talking about taxpayers’ money and we want to know who exactly got the money. I don’t want to assume you are taking us for fools because we aren’t.”
However, the Committee was thrown into state of confusion when Amara informed the Committee that it was Buzibira who introduced Warren Mwesigye to his mother in-law, Namuli and he was meant to finance the activities to process the compensation because Namuli had no idea that the document she signed was meant to relinquish her of her interest.
“I translated the powers of attorney and they were irrevocable where the counsel was supposed to deal with the client up to the end. Immediately counsel brought documents introducing Warren saying he is a gentleman who can ably help and Warren wasn’t around at the time, Namuli went to Buzibira once and he drew all the documents once,” Amara explained.
With the two contradicting accounts, the Committee agreed to have the two lawyers arrested. They also agreed to summon Mwesigye to appear tomorrow for interrogation into the matter.
It is however not the first time that Mwesigye is named in the Shs10bn land compensation. He is said to have received billions when he wasn’t an absentee landlord in May 2018.