Two attorneys are the subject of an investigation by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Parliament for their involvement in the Shs2 billion land compensation controversy.
The investigation is being conducted by the Hon. Joel Ssenyonyi-led Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities, and State Enterprises (COSASE), which is looking into the circumstances in which 79-year-old Nantalia Namuli was represented by Lubega & Buzibira Co. Advocates of Kampala in the sale of 516 hectares of land in western Uganda’s Kagadi district.
The Sh2 billion in compensation was a portion of the Sh10.6 billion in additional spending for the Ministry of Lands, Housing, and Urban Development in the Fiscal Year 2020–2021 intended to reimburse six landlords.
But on June 10, 2021, the committee received a request from the legitimate owner of the land, led by John Kalete Antwane, the representative of the grandchildren of John Kalete, the actual owner of the land, asking it to halt all future payments and compensation on the grounds that the recipients were untrue owners.
The two attorneys Kyle Lubega and Richard Buzibira, who will now appear before the Parliamentary Committee on Tuesday, June 28, 2022, were turned over to the CID due to their involvement in the payment.
On July 22, 2020, the lawyers allegedly handed Namuli Sh218 million in cash, however Namuli and her son-in-law Peter Amara have denied the payment claim. The attorneys have additionally been accused of falsifying documents and signatures, among other things.
While testifying before the committee, they also conveyed conflicting information on the funds Namuli is said to have received.
The two were made to swear an oath so that the committee could determine the truth.
Buzibira, on the other hand, asserted that Namuli sold the land’s rights and claim to businessman Warren Mwesigye for Sh318.87 million, with the money going into her name even though the latter received payment.
As another witness watches, Namuli’s son-in-law Peter Amara (R) discusses his role in the deal.
He further said that because Namuli had previously sold her rights, the money was given to Mwesigye and not to her.
According to Buzibira, “I do not find anything wrong with her action as she had waited more than five years for Uganda Land Commission’s (ULC) settlement and she decided to obtain money out of it early.”
When the committee pressed him more about hiding the information in his initial presentation, he responded that he didn’t want to identify the businessman Warren Mwesigye to them.
Buzibira, who had invited Namuli to the law firm, claimed that Namuli had received the Sh318 million in a bag and had left with Peter Amara, her son-in-law.
Because they allegedly misled the committee, Lubega and Buzibira were found in contempt of court.
Members of the committee, notably the advocate for people with disabilities, Hon. Bumaali Mpindi, said that the lawyers had fabricated documents and had lied to the committee. They also gave the ULC responsibility for reclaiming the land.
The two attorneys were turned over to Parliament CID for an investigation by COSASE Chair Hon Ssenyonyi.