According to Hon. Joel Ssenyonyi, the chairman of the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities, and State Enterprises, Shs2 billion in taxpayer money has been paid to a ghost (COSASE).
Two attorneys, Kyle Lubega and Richard Buzibira, were turned over by COSASE to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on Tuesday for their involvement in the case.
The two are lawyers who work for Lubega & Buzibira Co. Advocates in Kampala. They represented 79-year-old Nantalia Namuli 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.
This is the narrative:
John Kalete, who passed away, owned the 516 hectares of land in Kagadi. The land is purportedly owned by Nantalia Namuli, a 79-year-old woman. The ULC is obligated to compensate the landowner for its $2 billion market worth.
On June 10, 2021, the committee, under the leadership of John Kalete Antwane, received a request from the legal owner of the land, who claimed that those receiving payments were not the rightful owners and asked that any compensation be stopped.
Warren Mwesigye, the businessman involved in the irregular Shs2 billion land compensation from the Uganda Land Commission, testified before COSASE on Wednesday that he purchased a claim from Nantalia Namuli for Shs318 million in the hopes that when the government pays the claim, it would be recognized as legitimate.
Warren Mwesigye, a businessman, and Richard Buzibira, a lawyer
In order to purchase the claim, Peter Amara, Nantalia’s son-in-law, got in touch with a businessman and his buddy Warren Mwesigye.
A lawyer named Richard Buzibira was hired to prepare the contract. According to the arrangement, Namuli would sell her claim for a 2 billion shilling interest for Sh318 million.
This was done so that the elderly woman wouldn’t have to wait too long to receive her Sh2 billion; instead, she would receive Sh318 million, and the businessman would profit from his Sh318 million investment.
The funding arrived in 2021. The Sh2 billion did not go to Namuli or her son-in-law.
The attorney and businessman contend that they gave the landowners Sh318 million.
The Committee spoke with Namuli and Amara, both of whom claimed they had not received any compensation. When Namuli revealed that she did not own the land, the committee was horrified.
In the course of her inquiries into numerous land dealings, Justice Catherine Bamugemereire cited both businessman Mwesigye and attorney Buzibira.
Ssenyonyi stated, “Businessman Warren Mwesigye bought air, it was a fake, you have to refund that money.”