MP accused of pocketing Shs80 million for tenant

Thursday November 17 2011

By MARTIN SSEBUYIRA

The police are investigating Busiro South MP Joseph Balikuddembe Mutebi on allegations of taking Shs80m meant for compensating an 80-year-old woman.

Ms Dariya Nabuto, was among 300 residents who were evicted from a 100-acre piece of land at Bwebajja on Entebbe Road, after it was bought off in 2010 by businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba.
Ms Nabuto said before eviction, several tenants, including Mr Balikuddembe, met Bassajja’s agent, only identified as Kangave at Fairway Hotel in Kampala, to witness the receipt of the money.

“The money was given to us at night and we resolved to leave it behind for security reasons but Hon. Balikuddembe said he would take it for safe custody until the next morning, which we accepted,” Ms Nabuto said.

She said, to her surprise, Mr Balikuddembe did not turn up the next morning as he had promised but she kept hoping that he would deliver the money. Ms Nabuto said she inherited the land from her grandfather Tito Kirideki.

“I had first refused the compensation but after a series of meetings with local leaders, including MP Balikuddembe, and seeing all my neighbours get paid off and I couldn’t fight alone, I agreed to get compensation,” Ms Nabuto said.

House collapsing
Mr Richard Lutwama, a neighbour of Ms Nabuto, who was present when the MP took the money, said they have pleaded with him to give the old woman her money in vain.
“Her house is about to collapse, her gardens were cleared and Basajja is threatening to evict her any time,” Mr Lutwama said.

“We are surprised that he is doing it to an old woman in his constituency.”
However, Mr Balikuddembe denies taking the money, saying the issue has been politicised to tarnish his name.

“It’s true I kept the old woman’s compensation after we agreed with her family members to buy her two plots (of land) and construct her an ultra-modern home, which I have done. She is entering her home this week,” he said in a separate interview.

The MP said he has been giving Ms Nabuto Shs100,000 per month as part of the compensation, adding that they even agreed to get a private lawyer to draft agreements on the land. “I negotiated on behalf of almost all residents and money was channeled through me. Why would I only swindle the money for the old woman and leave all the others?” Mr Balikuddembe asked.

He says they have organised a party on Sunday to aid Ms Nabuto relocation to her new house to shame all people trying to use her to tarnish his name. Kampala Metropolitan police spokesman Ibn Ssenkumbi said they opened a case file number CPS KMP/GEF/97/2011 and are investigating the matter. “He recorded a statement and we are still gathering more evidence to have him taken to courts of law,” he said.

mssebuyira@ug.nationmedia.com

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