Court issues demand notice against Minister Banye-

Nzaki

 
 
By ROBERT MUHEREZA


Posted  Sunday, February 22  2015 

 

At Kabale, Western Province, Uganda.

 

The Kabale Chief Magistrate’s Court has issued a demand notice against the State Minister for Economic monitoring, Mr Henry Banyenzaki, over alleged failure to pay Shs360,000 to Kabale businessman Johnson Ndyabanawe.

Mr Ndyabanawe told the court Mr Banyenzaki hired his two lorries to carry people from different villages in Rubanda west constituency and drop them at Muko sub-county playground where President Museveni was addressing them on January 15. He also said Mr Banyenzaki paid him only Shs840,000 leaving a balance of Shs360,000 which he has failed to pay despite several reminders.

The demand notice dated February 12, issued by the head of small claims procedure at Kabale Chief Magistrate’s Court, Mr Darius Kamugisha, requires Mr Banyenzaki to settle the debt within 14 days and failure to comply, the complainant shall obtain decree for the same amount of money claimed together with expenses permitted by court.

But Mr Banyenzaki, on Friday said the claim is false and threatened to deal with the complainant for tainting his name.

“The claims are false and aimed at tainting my reputation. That man must be mad because I have never contracted him. I have not received the demand notice as of now but I am ready to challenge it,” Mr Banyenzaki said.

The State witness in the loss of pension in Uganda fears to come to court. The Judge is not happy about it:

Prison warders escort former Public Service permanent secretary Jimmy

Prison warders escort former Public Service permanent secretary Jimmy Lwamafa (R) and former Principal Accountant Christopher Obey (L) to the Anti-Corruption Court for a hearing of their case recently. PHOTO BY DOMINIC BUKENYA

By BETTY NDAGIRE


Posted  Tuesday, December 22   2015 

Kampala, UGANDA:

The Anti-Corruption Court Judge Lawrence Gidudu yesterday expressed dissatisfaction over the State’s failure to present a witness to testify against key suspects in the Shs88 billion pension scam.

The suspects include former permanent secretary in the ministry of Public Service Jimmy Lwamafa, former Principal Accountant Christopher Obey, and former director research and development Stephen Kiwanuka Kunsa.

Hearing of their case was set to proceed with submission by the acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service, Ms Adah Kabarokole Muwanga, but she failed to show up before court on grounds that she was unwell.

This is the second time she failed to show up.

This second instance annoyed Justice Gidudu who proposed they deal with her (Muwanga’s) testimony, saying her absence was a sign that she might never appear.

However, the prosecutor, Ms Ms Barbra Kawuma, pleaded with court to avail her another chance to be heard, arguing that Ms Muwanga’s evidence is crucial for their case and being a civil servant, she has obligation to show up to testify and court should be granted another chance.

Postponement

Consequently, the judge allowed prosecution until January 8, 2016, and threatened to reconsider releasing the suspects on bail.

Justice Gidudu explained that in criminal law, when suspects are on remand, their trial should be speeded and that if the prosecution is continuously dragging its feet, then he will be obliged to release the suspects on bail.

Currently, prosecution is left with six witnesses who should testify before the end of February 2016, for court to rule on whether, the suspects have a case to answer.

The suspects have been on remand since August this year and two different judges have on two different occasions, denied to release the suspects on bail, agreeing with the prosecution that once out of jail, they will jeopardise investigations like they did in the initial pension case of Shs165 billion that was dismissed.

The trio is accused of fraudulently budgeting for over Shs88 billion of civil servants’ pension contribution to National Social Security Fund (NSSF) well knowing that civil servants don’t contribute to NSSF.


bndagire@ug.

nationmdia.com

PRISON SHOULD BE CALLED CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTE.

Posted on 13th November, 2014
Lucy Nakyobe in parliament

Revelations that taxpayers funded President Museveni’s re-election bid expose unfairness of 2016 elections

The recent confession by State House and some Presidency ministry officials that they exhausted their allotted funds for the 2015/16 financial year on recent presidential campaigns has come under fire from several political and civil society actors, who describe it as ‘total abuse of public funds with impunity.’

As parliament’s budget committee tussled with an avalanche of supplementary budget requests late last week, which totalled Shs 1.04 trillion, some officials confessed that they emptied their initial budget allocations in order to sustain President Museveni’s campaign expenditure.

State House comptroller, Lucy Nakyobe, whose office tabled a supplementary budget request of Shs 49.7 billion, told the parliamentary budget committee on April 1 that her coffers were depleted by the so many inland travels of President Museveni, who addressed four campaign rallies daily on average for the campaign period.

Four rallies, she said, meant more fuel for the 18-vehicle standard presidential motorcade and facilitation for the entourage. According to Nakyobe, Museveni also spent a large chunk of the money initially allocated to State House to fulfil presidential donations he had made across the country.

A number of top government officials led by the minister of state for Planning, David Bahati, appeared before the budget committee last week chaired by MP Amos Lugoloobi (Ntengeru North) to defend their supplementary budget requests.

Defence permanent secretary Rosette Byengoma told the committee that her ministry spent more money than originally allocated to them on wages for UPDF officers and men who worked during campaigns, elections and post-election period.

The minister of state for Agriculture, Vincent Sempijja, and the officer in-charge of Planning and Agricultural Development, Sam Semanda, told the committee that their sector is in dire need of Shs 6bn to procure hoes for the people of West Nile.

The duo, however, found a hard time. MPs argued that they need to investigate the claim because there is evidence that all MPs from West Nile got hoes during campaigns to distribute to their people.

Other requests for additional funding before the current financial year ends in May 2016 came from the ministries of Defence (Shs 253bn), Local Government (Shs 23bn), Energy (Shs 24.4bn) and Agriculture (Shs 6bn), as well as the parliamentary commission (Shs 66.6bn) and Police (Shs 56.3bn).

 

ABUSE OF FUNDS

However, corruption watchdogs such as Cissy Kagaba, the executive director of Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda (ACCU), say the confessions by the public servants is tantamount to an admission that they wasted public funds to serve the interests of an individual.

“It is not surprising that the Public Finance Management Act was quickly amended to remove that whole component of supplementary budgets.”

Ahead of the 2016 general elections, the government hastily tabled before parliament and enforced the passing of amendments to the Public Finance Management Act which, among other things, to allow officials spend money and seek parliamentary approval later.

The opposition chief whip, Cecilia Atim Ogwal, argued that unless the State House budget included buying food for people reportedly dying from hunger in Karamoja and Teso, the supplementary budget is uncalled for.

“The Public Finance Management Act states that the supplementary budget must be on matters that are unavoidable and emergencies. Go back and reconsider fixing those demands in the coming budget,” Ogwal said, arguing that inland travels had been taken care of in the current financial year’s budget.

Kagaba told The Observer that the claim by State House’s Nakyobe that some of the money went into donations to fulfill the president’s promises was a sign of the breakdown of systems within the Museveni-led government.

“It shows that the system has failed because; how do you donate taxpayers’ money? What are the criteria you use to donate this money? We don’t even know what is inside those envelopes; so, one can come and say it was Shs 200,000 and yet it was Shs 100,000. You only donate that which belongs to you but you don’t donate taxpayers’ money because how do you come and account for it?”

MPs Ephraim Biraaro and Fox Odoi argued that it was embarrassing for State House to expect a supplementary budget to take care of donations instead of unforeseen emergencies.

“Poverty is foreseen and everyone knows Ugandans are poor. Donations should be given to deserving cases and if not paid, the promise erodes and should not fall under supplementary budgets,” Odoi (West Budama North) said.

Museveni campaigns in Hoima

The coordinator for the Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (Ccedu), Crispy Kaheru, said the issue of an incumbent running for re-election poses a challenge to attempts to level the playing field, especially where the incumbent has the capacity to use public funds during campaigns without the need to account to anyone.

“There is that grey area between President Museveni and candidate Museveni during the election period. It is costing the country very heavily,” he said. “Lawmakers must rein in on the spending of security agencies and State House by reforming the question of incumbency, which even the [Supreme court] judges talked about in their ruling.”

Kaheru suggested that the reforms should include the incumbent handing over his office to the next in the hierarchy in the event that he intends to run again for office, as well as setting benchmarks on what presidential privileges he or she retains as a candidate.

But MPs Col Fred Mwesigye (Nyabushozi), Peter Ogwang (Youth Eastern) and Joseph Kiregheya Matte (Bughendera) said it was necessary to approve the supplementary budgets to enable the president and State House to work.

The minister for the Presidency, Frank Tumwebaze, said there is nothing unusual or illegal in the move by State House to fund the president’s movements and other activities during the elections. He described the outcry as part of “their usual reckless allegations.”

He also welcomed the proposal to amend the constitution such that a sitting president enjoys fewer privileges but said the government would not deny the president his entitlements simply because of complaints that are not backed by law.

“Whether you like it or not, he is the president of Uganda; so, you are not going to expose him to risks simply because he is seeking re-election,” he said.

 

SPECIAL PLENARY SESSION

The supplementary budget requests of more than Shs 1 trillion come barely six months after the national budget of Shs 24 trillion was presented and approved in May 2015.

Parliament has now summoned MPs for a special plenary session on Wednesday to approve the supplementary budget requests despite an adjournment last week (March, 29) until April 26.

MPs have been spending the time scrutinising ministerial policy statements from sector ministries and statutory bodies for financial year 2016/2017. A source on the budget committee, who declined to be named so as to be able to speak freely, said most of the money the ministries and statutory bodies are asking for was diverted and spent on presidential campaigns.

“Those ministries and agencies had enough funds but decided to divert it for presidential campaigns. They are now pretending that there’s an outstanding shortfall on wages and so on,” the source said.

Other entities asking for more money include the Electoral Commission, which wants Shs 47.2bn to cover shortfalls incurred in the acquisition of the electronic results transmission system. External partners who were supposed to provide additional funding pulled out at a critical stage.

The EC will also use some of that money to pay up the balance on the Biometric Voter Verification system. The External Security Organisation (ESO) wants Shs 2bn to run its counterterrorism operations against the Al Shabaab, ADF, and monitoring the Albertine region. Shs 14.9bn is for missions abroad and Shs 7.2bn for the ministry of East African Community Affairs.

 

newseditor@observer.ug

hobenon@observer.ug

President Museveni didn’t forego any comfort in 1981. He saved well his person from prison.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash money kept at most homes in Uganda.

 

 

By Nick T. Twinamatsiko

Posted  Monday, November 10  2014 

 

Whereas Besigye, finding himself in similar circumstances in 2001, opted for exile and (subsequently) imprisonment, Museveni opted for armed rebellion.

 
 Speaking in Jinja recently, the eloquent Deputy Speaker of Parliament Mr Jacob Oulanyah described President Museveni as a heroic figure who snubbed the alternative of a comfortable life, complete with air-conditioned offices and cars, to go to the bush.

I don’t know whether Oulanyah was referring to 1971 or 1981; either way, he was wrong. Museveni’s options in 1981 were similar to those that came to be Kizza Besigye’s two decades later: exile, imprisonment or armed rebellion.

Indeed, in a 2011 interview with Charles Onyango-Obbo, former premier Kintu Musoke revealed that after the 1981 elections, the UPM leaders held a meeting to chart the way forward and, after the majority had resolved on the pacifist option, Museveni told them: “You can do whatever you want. But, as for me, I will not sit here and wait for Obote’s people to come and arrest me. I will fight them.”

Whereas Besigye, finding himself in similar circumstances in 2001, opted for exile and (subsequently) imprisonment, Museveni opted for armed rebellion.

Those who have probed into the circumstances surrounding the 1971 coup also reveal that when Museveni fled the country on January 26, he did so under the promptings of self-preservation since he was on coup makers’ hit list.

Museveni has never forfeited the alternative of an “air-conditioned” life. If Oulanyah is looking for a hero in the mould of the Biblical Moses who, according to Hebrews 11, forfeited palatial pleasures to suffer the afflictions of the wilderness, he should consider Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu, and perhaps join the Forum for Democratic Change.

Museveni has never made such a choice, and whereas it’s fine to sing the praises of our heroes, such praise shouldn’t be at the expense of historical truth.

The really remarkable thing about Museveni’s story is that he accepted the thorny bed that destiny had made for him, and after lying on it long enough, got a reward from the very same destiny.

Let nobody fool us that victory either in 1979 or in 1986 was a function of superior military strategy. In 1978, Idi Amin, by invading Tanzania, gave the exiles the victory they would never have otherwise got.

These exiles, Museveni included, had been thoroughly defeated and humiliated in Mbarara in 1972, and they had hit a dead end and settled in other careers before Amin’s impetuous invasion gave them a lifeline.

Similarly, the triumph of 1986 is attributable to the tribal fissures within the UNLA that deepened after the death of Oyite Ojok and resulted in the 1985 coup.

The truth then is that Museveni fought because he was cornered by circumstances, and his road to triumph was paved by the folly and weaknesses of his enemies more than it was paved by his own wisdom and strength.

There was an unmistakable hand of destiny in the whole affair, which is why there may be some truth in the claim that he was anointed to lead us. But remember the Biblical Saul. He too was anointed to lead Israel, and then after he went astray, the anointing was withdrawn and given to David.

Just like his predecessors, Museveni will come down because of the folly and weaknesses of his regime, rather than the wisdom and strength of his challengers.

Increasingly, corruption and incompetence are becoming the defining characteristics of his government. Due to the poor quality of education, most civil servants cannot systematically study the problems of society and devise efficient and effective solutions. Instead, these civil servants are busy pilfering public funds.

Several security agencies intervened in the pension funds fraud because the scale of the theft was considered a potential threat to national security.

 

Actually, all corruption threatens national security because money is ending up in a few undeserving hands, and the millions of desperate youth will, like the Museveni of 1981, find themselves with no alternative but to take matters in their own hands.

 

 

 

Money problems in the Parliament of Uganda:

 

SUNDAY, 02 NOVEMBER 2014

BY FLAVIA NASSAKA

                  

                        MPs earn big, but are deep in debt

 

Cash flow equals income minus expenses. Some members of Uganda's parliament clearly skipped that personal finance management class. Among them are Felix Okot Ogong, Nakato Kyabanji Katusiime, Florence Kintu, and Simon Peter Aleper. All of them earn quite a bit of money and all of them are so deep in debt it has made headlines.

Florence Kintu, the MP for Kalungu had her land in Mukono confiscated for failure to clear a Shs300 million debt and Dokolo MP, Felix Okot Ogong was in July rescued by the High Court when a bank moved to sell off a property he had mortgaged for a Shs1.6 billion loan.

Ironically, Okot Ogong who is also a money-lender, had in July 2013 dragged fellow MP Simon Peter Aleper (Moroto) to court over a Shs70 million loan. Ogong was charging a loan-shark fee of 5% interest per month.

Other MPs, like Christopher Aciro of Gulu have been accused of misappropriating funds generated by their constituents. In Aciro’ case, he reportedly mismanaged about Shs28 million belonging to 170 savings groups in the Acholi sub-region.

Money troubles are nothing new in parliament but they are worsening. During the induction of the current parliament, the Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga who has been in parliament for over two-decades warned the new MPs to avoid loan sharks. Very few were listening. When reality sunk in a few months later, the MPs demanded a 50% raise in their allowances. But it appears not to have helped. Recently, some MPs from the ruling party appealed to President Yoweri Museveni for a bail-out. It failed and the desperate MPs turned to a Chinese firm which offered to buy their debt and offer them better repayment terms. That too was blocked.

Even as the MPs cash flow problems appear not to abate, Kadaga recently threw the MPs to the sharks when she called a press conference to warn that her office would no longer second MPs loan requests to banks.

Rosemary Seninde, the Wakiso Woman MP who sits on the Commission that took the decision defended it.  She said the role of Parliament now is to introduce the individual as a legislator. “Beyond that, the relationship remains between an individual and the bank so that upon failure to pay parliament is not to blame.”

Insider information from parliament indicates that Kadaga acted because some MPs, fearing that all their money would be taken by banks, had started asking parliament to post their cheques on different accounts. Some would hide within the precinct of parliament as bailiffs waited outside.

No money literacy

Gomba Woman MP, Nakato Kyabanji Katusiime is among the unlucky ones. She was on Aug. 26 arrested for failure to repay a Shs100 million debt. Upon her release after paying an instalment of Shs20 million, she blames her constituency for her woes.

“The constituency demands are too high for a mere MP to afford,” she told The Independent in an interview.

But when Daily Monitor newspaper run the story; “Gomba Woman MP sent to jail over debt” on the day she was sent to jail, there was no sympathy in reader comments.

David Luttu said: “This is such a shame. Just a quick research on Google, our honourable MPs earn about Shs15 million a month, give and take. If at all they spend Shs5 million on work-related stuff… that leaves them with Shs10 million disposable income. This honourable MP should be able to pay this loan with interest in 10 months without causing the rest of us shame…Am sorry but she and others like her do not deserve to enter the gates of parliament.”

Another reader, Masiga, said: “Talk of broke and reckless parliamentarians. Why borrow such huge money that is beyond your means?”

Sabiitus wrote: “Let her not only be taken to prison but also made to work like others”.

Even fellow MPs, like Serere woman MP Alice Alaso, rubbish the excuse that MPs borrow to fulfil their constituency obligations. She says some MPs, especially new ones, spend extravagantly and live lavishly.

“How can you explain the scenario where one commits his entire salary to attending burials, wedding and paying voters’ school fees? To me, that’s biting more than we can chew and it’s definitely because some of us are financially illiterate”, she argues.

Without financial literacy, some MPs appear unable to understand how money works; including how to earn it, manages it, invest it and spend it. They appear not to know how to make informed and effective decisions with all of their financial resources.

The Parliamentary Commission is aware of this problem and occasionally outsources experts to talk to the MPs about money.

“Unfortunately these expert chats are one offs yet financial illiteracy has played a bigger part in the members’ indebtedness,” says Alaso.

This has also been noted and, Seninde says, members of the next parliament should be trained quickly to avoid the money troubles that have become common in the 9th parliament.

Equally disturbing is the lack of sympathy for MPs among voters.

A Daily Monitor reader called Rambo possibly summed it up: “This culture of entitlement by MPs should be eradicated. They are acting with impunity… Let her stay in jail!”

That appears to be the general feeling.

Many people in a country where the average income per month is about Shs80, 000 cannot understand why MPs who appear to earn quite a pile cannot pay their debts.

In reality, the MPs basic salary is just Shs2.6 million per month before tax – just about as much as that of a small time bank officer. But the MPs have other perks; around Shs3.5 million mileage facilitation, Shs3.2 million constituency facilitation, Shs4.5 million subsistence allowance, Shs1 million gratuity, Shs1 million town running, medical allowances, Shs50,000 per committee sitting, and travel facilitation when they go for trips domestic and foreign.

The various allowances make computing an MP’s salary quite confusing even for some of them, but it is generally said that MPs earn between Shs15 million and Shs20 million per month.

Unfortunately, the perks bounty is no assured unless the MPs is street-wise, belongs to the right networks, and knows how to juggle multiple tasks. Foreign travel is one of the most coveted perks, but it is tightly controlled and used as carrot and stick. You do not get unless you press the right buttons.  MP Alice Alaso says “it is embarrassing how MPs pop from meeting to meeting not because they are discussing issues but they are looking for allowances”.

Semujju Nganda (MP Kyadondo East) is more direct: He says the biggest business at parliament is looking for money and that “members reach an extent of going to an event, sign, and rush to another one.” He says the MPs sign for events that happen within the same time.

“They come to meetings without any clue; they just come to pick allowances,” he says. That perhaps explains why the MPs had in their budget proposals for the 2014/15 Financial Year, asked that their salaries and allowance be `consolidated into one package’.  The Ministry of Finance knocked down the proposal because it would raise the wage bill by 30%. Unofficially, however, many recognise that giving MPs financial stability amounts to throwing away the executive’s carrot and stick. Not a good idea.

Fake prosperity

But the misperception of the MPs true worth persists because some MPs have managed to navigate their complex financial lives without much trouble. The prosperous façade of a few fools many as it glosses over the indebted many.  Unfortunately, those taken in by the façade of prosperity include the MPs themselves, their voters, and the banks.

It starts in the beginning when, at the start of each five year term, the MPs; new and old, are given a motor vehicle allowance. For the current MPs, that was Shs103 million each tax free. An average Four-wheel SUV favoured by most MPs goes for about Shs50 million. The balance goes into acquiring a new wardrobe befitting their new status. Next comes a change in lifestyle; including acquiring a new, large and modern mansion in the city.

The banks proper may shun them, but private money lenders are on hand to help. They easily give loans of Shs100 million and over. With the new SUV, city mansion, and cash in the bag, the fake new make-over is in place.

It is not surprising, therefore, that in spite of the well document troubles, to be a member of parliament is one of the most attractive jobs in Uganda.

Contenders usually start laying strategies for winning the next election immediately after an election. This is what exactly took place in Fort Portal Municipality when Alex Ruhunda won the parliamentary seat in 2011. As early as 2012, aspirants started moving around the villages, meeting voters in markets, mosques, and churches and making campaign promises. With such pressure on the MP; that someone is eyeing their seat, the incumbent MPs never go out of campaign mode and the spending that goes with it.

Richard Mugisa, a village opinion leader at Bukwali village in East Division, Fort Portal Municipality says Ruhunda is quite a common figure in the constituency. Mugisa says apart from building for each homestead an energy saving stove, the legislator has made financial contributions to the Bukwali Youth Creative Club, a youth Savings and Credit Cooperative (SACCO).

Awidah Kabagenyi from Kagote, another village in West Division, is also among those who have enjoyed Ruhunda’s generosity. Kabagenyi says, as their patron in Nikisoboka SACCO, Ruhunda “fills in the gaps whenever some money is needed”.

In addition to that, the legislator is defined by many in the constituency as one of their own because he stands with them in both moments of joy and sorrow, in parties and at funerals. The voters expect it of every MP and they do not care how much it costs the MP. After, they say, MPs are wealthy.

Nobody asks the important questions: If they are as wealthy as is claimed, why are so many MPs so deep in debt? What needs to be done about it? Why do so many people who should know better choose to lead a high expenses lifestyle well-knowing they have very little income?

Dr. Apollo Karugaba, who represented Fort Portal Municipality in parliament 15 years ago, says MPs’ indebtedness started with the popularisation of the “politics of money”. “During our time, the electorate didn’t look at us as money churning machines and yet MPs were not as greedy as some portray themselves today. Both parties focused on constituency development”.

The Leader of Opposition, Wafula Oguttu, agrees. He says MPs trouble starts when, instead of presenting issues to the electorate, they hoodwink them by buying them sugar, paying fees, attending burials, and weddings.  “In 2011, I won an election without buying a single kilogram of sugar for any voter. Those who asked for tea, I advised them to try my opponents,” he told The Independent.

Emmanuel Dombo, the Bunyole East MP who has been in the House since 1996 also says indebtedness is a problem faced by “amateurs who are excited and at the same time scared that when they don’t wash their electorate with money, they’ll be kicked out”. Dombo insists that in addition to money management lessons for MPs reviving meaningful Constituency Development Fund (CDF) is necessary. The CDF meant to facilitate legislators’ constituency work was erased upon misuse by some parliamentarians. “After spending millions in campaigns, some members went to parliament while already in a deficit. All that was on their minds was to make money to clear their debts. It’s no wonder that such members keep bothering the speaker requesting for travel opportunities so they can get bigger allowances”.

Prof. Sabiti Makara, a political scientist at Makerere University says the MPs money troubles are because voters have understood that the idea of politicians representing people is something just theoretical.

“Now that people have learnt that MPs represent themselves, they keep demanding for money and favours from them,” he says. He says the electorate only benefits when MPs are invited to fundraising events in the villages.

Makara says being indebted should not be a problem but the MPs could be borrowing in the wrong way.

“Politicians and other professionals worldwide are also indebted but they do it through good means from banks not from loan sharks who ask for exorbitant interests as it is here,” he says.

Considering their kind of obligations, the professor says MPs have to look for other monies to complement salary.

Makara, however, predicts that the next parliament is likely to have worse money problems.   “It will be a `yes sir parliament’ full of youths, they are terrible opportunists. They’ll do anything for money and whatever the president will say; they’ll just be nodding in approval”. But that too is unlikely to help, unless the MPs learn to better manage their cash flow.

 

Hearing of Kalyegira’s defamation case resumes

Publish Date: Dec 18, 2014

 

Hearing of Kalyegira’s defamation case resumes
             Timothy Kalyegira
 
 

By Davis Buyondo

 

KAMPALA - The case in which Timothy Kalyegira, a former Daily Monitor Journalist, is charged with defaming President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has resumed at City Hall in Kampala.

 

On Tuesday, through his lawyer Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi, Kalyegira prayed to court that criminal defamation charges brought against him by the State be dismissed on grounds that Section 179 of the Penal Code Act, under which he is being charged, contravenes international standards and best practices of media freedom.

 

Kalyegira further argues that according to the recent decision delivered by the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) to which Uganda is party, found criminal defamation to be contrary to the guarantees on freedom of expression. 

 

However, Moses Nabende, the trial Magistrate, advised Rwakafuzi to furnish court with the said decision.

 

Prosecution alleges that on July 12 and July 16, 2010 in Kampala district, with intent to defame the person of the president, Kalyegira unlawfully published defamatory matter on the Uganda Records, an online publication, when he published that government was responsible for the bombs that went off on July 11, 2010 killing close to 80 people at the Ethiopian village in Kabalagala and Kyadondo Rugby Club in Lugogo.

 

In 2012, Kalyegira filed an application to the High Court raising a question of law as to whether online publication was envisaged under Section 179 of the Penal Code Act.

 

In deciding the matter, Justice Lameck Kigozi held that online publication can constitute a commission of an offence under Section 179 of the Penal code Act and the case was referred to the trial magistrate for trial.

 

However, the case was adjourned to January 16, 2015 for mention.

 

Uganda Officials admit illegalities in public prime land giveaways in Kampala city, Uganda.

Uganda Land Commission chairman Baguma Isoke (L) before a Parliament

select committee yesterday.

PHOTO BY GEOFFREY SSERUYANGE 

By Yasiin Mugerwa

 

Posted  Thursday, April 16  2015 

 

In the Parliament of Uganda. 

Uganda Land Commission (ULC) officials yesterday admitted illegalities in city land deals.

The officials also volunteered information to the ongoing House inquiry into the giving-away of real estate belonging to public education institutions, detailing how they helped an investor to mortgage a piece of land belonging to a city school. 

Documents presented by ULC chairman Baguma Isoke to the House committee carrying out the investigation, contain evidence of the transactions.

The illegal deals

The committee heard that ULC illegally allocated Plot 27 on Bombo Road, belonging to Buganda Road Primary School, to Jima Properties Ltd in January 2011. The investor was granted a five-year lease and when the lease expired, ULC officials extended the disputed lease for 49 years. 

“Uganda Land Commission is party to shoddy land deals in the city,” said Mr Wilfred Niwagaba, the committee lead counsel. 

“They grabbed the school land and gave it to an investor. They extended the lease for 49 years to help the investor mortgage the school land title to a bank,” added Mr Niwagaba.

The documents showed how Mr Baker Mugaino, a land officer on September 8, 2014, wrote to the Commissioner Land Registration, confirming the extension of the lease to Jima Properties Ltd. The committee is investigating the people behind this company after ULC failed to disclose the names of its directors. 

However, in a May 5, 2014 letter, Mr Bulaimu Muwonge Kibirige, who signed as the managing director of Jima Properties Ltd, requested ULC’s consent to mortgage the land to his bankers for development financing as the only way to finish the project.

The committee heard that in the lease offer, the investor was asked to improve the school football pitch with simple materials, yet the school management wanted security of the pupils while at school. Later, the investor allegedly agreed with the school to build a perimeter wall around the school. 

“Following our application for financing, the bank may request for a full lease so as to secure its money,” Mr Kibirige wrote.

Mr Baguma and his team kept blaming the irregularities in various land deals on the current staff gaps at ULC. Mr Paul Idudi, a ULC official, said there is a committee within ULC which advises the commission’s board on various transactions. They requested for more time to study the advice the committee gave on the disputed land deals.

Mr Theodore Ssekikubo, the MP who petitioned the House to form a select committee on the takeover of land belonging to public schools, accused commission officials of colluding with investors to fraudulently extend leases and later claim that they hold the land in trust for Ugandans.

However, Mr Mugaino said: “It’s not true that we connive with investors. We are staff of the commission headed by a secretary who reports to the board. Where extension is done without developments, it’s an illegality and there is no need for debate over that matter.”

Kololo SS land giveaway

The committee also heard that former Mwenge MP Tom Butime was also given a piece of land belonging to Kololo SS to construct residential houses. The former MP later sold the land in question on which a mosque was later constructed. By press time, Mr Butime was not available for comment. 

Yesterday, ULC officials requested for a closed session with the committee to discuss the demolition of Nabagereka Primary School. 

Members who attended the closed-door meeting later told Daily Monitor that they were informed that the school land was sold by Buganda Land Board and that the government did not have any hand in the demolition. 

Ministry of Education officials are expected to appear before the committee today.

ymugerwa@ug.nationmedia.com

 

 

Mbabazi is interrogated over his presidential bid come 2016:

Amama Mbabazi

Former prime minister Amama Mbabazi during the Capital Gang talk show.

PHOTO BY FAISWAL KASIRYE.  

By Eriasa Mukiibi Sserunjogi

 

Posted  Sunday, July 5  2015 

  

Kampala. UGANDA:

In his maiden Ugandan talk show as a presidential aspirant, former prime minister Amama Mbabazi yesterday faced tough questions mainly about his record within the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) and the government, his alleged massive wealth and the involvement of his family in his campaign.

Mr Mbabazi has since his long-awaited declaration of his presidential bid on June 15, preferred to talk about the future, offering himself as the candidate who will help Uganda transit from the leadership of the 1986 generation of leaders to the younger generation.

This was the major focus of Mr Mbabazi’s presentations at two earlier appearances on international media platforms, the BBC and Voice of America. It also formed the bulk of his five-minute video-recorded declaration statement, together with many of his messages on social media.

Mr Mbabazi’s opponents and critics, however, have sought to drive the debate back to his long record in government, looking to point out what they see as contradictions in what the former prime minister and ruling party secretary general says now and what he did over the many years when he was perceived as President Museveni’s right hand man.

 

Mr Museveni himself, in his response to Mr Mbabazi on the same day he [Mr Mbabazi] declared his presidential bid, questioned Mr Mbabazi’s ability to reform the government when, according to the president, he had opportunity to do so from within.

On the Capital Gang show on Capital FM yesterday, there were at least two “gangsters” who were resolute to hold Mr Mbabazi to his record. These were Mr Ofwono Opondo, the executive director of the government media centre, and Dr Kenneth Omona, the deputy treasurer of NRM.

The two ruling party members, who share deeply in what many see as a herculean task of stopping Mr Mbabazi, were often joined by Mr Ssemujju Nganda, the Forum for Democratic Change publicist, and Ms Beti Kamya, a former presidential candidate and MP, in querying Mr Mbabazi’s record.

Term limits, “repressive” laws

Mr Mbabazi was challenged to explain why he supported the lifting of presidential term limits in 2005 yet they could have technically kicked out Mr Museveni and prevented the “inefficiency” that Mr Mbabazi now says has crept into government.

He said he was “a vigorous” defender of the amendment of the Constitution to remove term limits because he thought that the idea of term limits ran counter to democracy, particularly the aspect of free choice.

“However, from the experience of Uganda, I have looked at the experience of choice more deeply... for democracy to flourish, it makes sense to revisit this issue of term limits in order to minimise the abuse of state power,” Mr Mbabazi said.

He said open terms can be abused in a system like Uganda’s, where free choice can be stifled by intimidation, bribery and corruption.

Regarding queries that Mr Mbabazi orchestrated “repressive” laws, particularly the laws on public order management and phone tapping, Mr Mbabazi defended both as good laws, saying that the only problem is that the laws are being abused.

Panellists poked fun at Mr Opondo during the first hour of the show, saying he had abandoned his usual habit of sipping at his coffee, ferociously taking notes as the debate progressed.

When his turn came, Mr Opondo sought to present Mr Mbabazi as playing double standards, saying the former prime minister did not deserve any sympathy because “internal debate in NRM died under Hon Mbabazi.”

Mr Mbabazi had talked of the lack of internal democracy and discussion within the party, saying, for instance, that it is only the party chairman, President Museveni, who spoke during the NRM delegates conference last December at which he was stripped of the secretary general position. 

 

Mr Mbabazi also distanced himself from the Kyankwanzi resolution in which NRM MPs declared Mr Museveni the party’s “sole candidate” for the coming election, saying it is illegal. Although he signed the resolution after it looked like he was ambushed with it, he later distanced himself from it and has since declared that he will challenge Mr Museveni within the party.

Mr Opondo, regarding this, said the NRM has been “quietly building consensus around President Museveni” and “it is strange that this founder leader of NRM is seeking to operate outside the rules that he has been enforcing.”

Mr Opondo said whereas Mr Mbabazi was the minister in charge of Political Affairs in 2000, he did not protest when the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ruling Movement disowned Dr Kizza Besigye’s intention to compete for the presidency and “urged” President Museveni to stand as the unopposed Movement candidate.

Mr Opondo said when the Movement became the NRM party in 2005, a similar process took place, and that the same happened in 2010. Mr Mbabazi was the party secretary general on the latter two occasions, Mr Opondo noted, but that Mr Felix Okot-Ogong was persuaded to let Mr Museveni run unchallenged within the party in 2005. Another aspirant, Maj Ruhinda Maguru, also got his name struck out of the list by the party’s organs when he sought to challenge Mr Museveni. 

Mr Mbabazi did not respond to many of the questions because he was time-barred and promised to return to the radio show another time.

His take on alleged wealth, family

On her part, Ms Kamya wondered about Mr Mbabazi’s source of wealth and the “heavy” involvement of Mr Mbabazi’s family in his presidential aspirations, saying part of the accusation against Mr Museveni is his family’s involvement in state affairs and whether it won’t be the same with Mr Mbabazi.

“We hear that Mr Mbabazi has immense wealth; what does he make to account for this immense wealth?” Ms Kamya asked. 

Mr Mbabazi responded: “Beti, who told you I am wealthy? It is true that I am not poor, both mentally and physically... All the money that I have I can account for it... It is not true that I am that wealthy.”

The former prime minister, however, said he is “absolutely ready to fund the campaign to the maximum.”

Regarding the involvement of his family, Mr Mbabazi said he does not discourage his family members, particularly his children, from participating in public affairs. He said in fact it makes him proud.

He said, however, that it is not true that his family were playing the leading role in his campaign. “My family’s visibility is because I have been the centre of focus,” he said.

emukiibi@ug.nationmedia.com

 

Big people in government are benefiting from corruption - Kagina

By Yasiin Mugerwa

 

Posted  Thursday, July 9   2015 

In the Uganda Parliament, Kampala: 

The executive director of Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA), Ms Allen Kagina, yesterday told legislators in a closed-door meeting that big people in government were benefiting from corruption in the roads sector.

Sources who attended Parliament’s Physical Infrastructure Committee meeting told Daily Monitor that Ms Kagina accepted that some UNRA and government officials she did not name had formed companies to benefit from the road contracts and narrated how they intentionally delay road projects through sham administrative reviews.

Ms Kagina, who led a team to the committee to give a status report on the road development projects under UNRA, explained that contactors are expected to be on the site by October 2015 and July 2015 respectively.

“There is inside trading in UNRA,” Mr Ephraim Biraro (Buhweju) said, before the journalists were kicked out of the proceedings on the request of Ms Kagina.

MPs led by Stephen Mikitale (Bulisa) demanded that the mandate of the ongoing Judicial Commission of inquiry into the corruption in the roads sector be widened to cover all the roads in the country.

Journalists kicked out

Ms Kagina requested the committee chairperson Mr Biraro to kick out journalists before she explained why UNRA had decided to hand-pick a Turkish contractor to work on 111km Hoima-Butyaba-Wanseko road.

Mr Patrick Oboi Amuriat (Kumi) complained that single sourcing was akin to corruption and that the failure to advertise a project of more than $100m would deny Ugandans value for money.

On the corruption at the weighbridge, Ms Kagina said starting next week UNRA would start an operation to protect the roads.

She talked of a new rapid response unit with a mobile weighbridge and a clampdown on overloaded vehicles. She said the entire management would be reviewed.

ymugerwa@ug.nationmedia.com

 

  

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