The state minister for lands Persis Namuganza has distanced her ministry from allegations that the money meant to compensate landowners was inflated by Shs2 billion.
Namuganza said the claims orchestrated by some Members of Parliament are intended to blackmail the Lands ministry.
Recently, Parliament passed a supplementary budget of Shs295bn, of which Shs18bn was to compensate landowners.From the Shs18bn, Shs12 bn was to be paid by the ministry of lands to 12 beneficiaries.
Among them included, Kasiya Rwabukurukuru with land at Kiyunga, Sheema Shs6.43bn, Stephen Peter Nagenda of Kibale, Rwanswa Shs1.06bn and Julius Busuulwa of Buyaga in Kibaale Shs1.4bn. Natalia Namuli Shs1.6 bn, Yisaka Lwakana Shs1.125bn and Mugisha Geoffrey Shs1.49bn, all with land in Buyaga, Kibaale.
On the other hand, shs3.82bn was to be paid to Dodovic Mwanje the owner of the land which housed the demolished church St Peters in Ndeeba and Shs3.30bn which was to be paid to Medard Kiconco who displaced people in Lusanja.
However, while opening the plenary on Tuesday, the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga informed the House that she received information from different sources that the funds meant to compensate landowners was inflated with an excess of Shs2bn on the required amount of money.
Kadaga added that also over hectares 254 were inflated on land to be paid for.
This prompts the Speaker to call for a special committee to investigate the matter.
“One of the information I got the land was inflated by 254 hectares, that although the secondly that although the presentation indicated that one of the beneficiaries was receiving the second payment, she has never received even the first payment, therefore the chances are that the second payment was also not going to reach her. The third one is related to inflating the quantum. These are matters we thought we should first inform the House and to establish another committee to investigate those allegations so that we can come to the bottom of it,” said Kadaga on Tuesday.
Speaking to this website on Wednesday, minister Namuganza said that Speaker’s allegations are false because the ministry used the government valuer to determine the prices of land in question.
“We have the chief government valuer, who is allowed under the law, so we don’t know if there is another that the Parliament is going to use?. However, this move has affected not only us but also the common person for example the people of Lusanja, and the Christians whose church was demolished. We thought that after paying the landowner, they will resume building their church but we will need to wait and see what comes out of the investigations,” she said.
Namuganza added that the allegations were made with intentions of tarnishing their names as Lands Ministers and also the image of the entire ministry.
“All the land matters we want to compensate were in court but we asked the landowners to resolve these matters out of court but we are disappointing them, Parliament is not seeing how people are suffering but they are in politics and there are those whose intention is to soil our names as thieves,” she said.
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