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Red flag raised over land compensation list : Beatrice Byenkya

Uganda Land Commission (ULC) chairperson Beatrice Byenkya has acknowledged writing to Parliament stopping a ministry of lands request amounting to sh12.1b meant to compensate a group of six land owners.

In a letter dated February 6 addressed to Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, Byenkya said she was dismayed and displeased with a list lands minister Beti Kamya submitted, which the commission said it was not aware of.

She asked the Speaker to bring the minister to order for having usurped the commission’s powers.

“I am kindly imploring your good office to denounce the money given to Uganda Lands Commission so that it can expeditiously carry out its mandated responsibilities,” Byenkya said.

Appearing before Parliament’s budget committee on Wednesday, Byenkya protested what she called selective compensation of land owners and demanded that the money be removed and ULC decides on whom to give among the over 500 household claimants that are yet to be compensated.

On the other hand, Kamya and her junior minister Persis Namuganza insisted that the six claimants were allocated the money after a presidential directive and therefore have to be cleared.

“They are over 500 households that are yet to be paid, why these six claimants only? Yes, we need this money but it should be untagged so that we decide on whom to compensate although we will also consider them. Why do you pick only these six who we have actually been paying?” Byenkya asked.

According to the list presented to the committee, the landlords include the family of Mzee Kasiya Rwabukurukuru (sh9.4b), Stephen Nagenda (sh1b), Julius Busuluulwa (sh2.2b), Natalia Namuli (sh1.6b), Yisaka Lwakana (sh1.17b), Geoffrey Mugisha (sh1.5b), Lusanja land and Ndeba Church Land (sh7.6b).

Kamya, on the other hand, insisted that these claimants presented their requests to the President and he agreed to pay them.

The request is part of a sh292b supplementary expenditure, including sh18.5b, that was meant for securing the much-needed COVID-19 vaccine and additional costs for preparation of national exams.

Parliament has halted approval of the money until some anomalies are corrected.

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