The State Minister for Housing, Persis Namuganza on Tuesday refused to respond to allegations she made against Parliament.
Namuganza appeared before the rules committee of Parliament, which Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa directed to investigate the Minister for allegedly questioning the integrity of Parliament.
In May this year, the Adhoc committee investigating the giveaway of Nakawa-Naguru land recommended that Namuganza steps aside for falsifying a presidential directive that saw the Uganda Land Commission (ULC) allocate the land to a section of investors. But Namuganza reportedly questioned the treatment of investors and people who appear before parliamentary committees, equating it to a torture chamber.
“When we meet the President, sometimes he gives verbal instructions. But when you reach the committee and deliver the instructions, you are accused of concocting them without further inquiry. This is very unfortunate,” Namuganza was quoted saying. However, MPs accused her of ridiculing Parliament and its leadership over the findings.
Appearing before the Rules Committee with her lawyer Norman Pande, Namuganza said that she had nothing to say about the allegations since they have no evidence.
Abdu Katuntu, the Rules Committee Chairperson said that there is no evidence to avail the Minister or his lawyers since the evidence will be adduced during the investigation.
The Vice Chairperson, Fr. Charles Onen also told Namuganza that the only evidence before the committee is the Hansard that captures Bukooli Central MP, Solomon Silwany, Tororo Woman MP Sarah Opendi, and other MPs accusing the Minister of questioning the integrity of Parliament.
However, Namuganza insisted that she could not make any response to allegations made by the MPs since there is no evidence.
Atkins Katusabe, the Bukonzo West MP proposed that the committee can proceed with its investigations into the allegations, noting that the captured response from the Minister should be a denial of the allegations.
Onen ruled that the Minister appears again on Wednesday together with witnesses who raised the matter on the floor of parliament.
Earlier, Katuntu assured the Minister that the matter under investigation has nothing to do with the report of the Adhoc committee on Nakawa-Naguru land that the Minister is challenging in court.
He said that the subjudice rule does not apply since his committee is looking into only statements made by the Minister after the committee report had been adopted.
Last month, the High Court in Kampala dismissed the Minister’s application seeking to quash the Ad-hoc Committee report on the Naguru-Nakawa land, on grounds that she was condemned without being heard. The Minister told the Court that she had been declared to have abused her office on a report which was biased, inconsistent, and lacked proper assessment.
The Court heard that the Ad-hoc committee report did not contain the purported letter and minutes that Namuganza based on to direct ULC to allocate land to different individuals and companies which would have guided them in their debate as to either to adopt or disregard it.
She had asked the Court to compel the Attorney General to pay 1 billion Shillings to her as damages.
The Attorney General asked the court to dismiss Namuganza’s case saying she cannot challenge a recommendation of Parliament pending debate and consideration by the Executive to assess whether or not to implement it.
Justice Musa Ssekaana then said that Namuganza’s application failed because she did not set out any evidence to prove that she was not given a fair hearing by the Ad-hoc committee apart from merely alleging. He dismissed her application and ordered each party to bear its costs.
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 Adhoc 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.
Dan Kimosho, the Kazo County MP told parliament that the Presidential Directives’ were non-existent and Anil Damani denied ever writing the letter to the Minister and the signature appended to it.
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