IGG runs to court to block Cosase report

PHOTO COMBO: Joel Ssenyonyi, Cosase chairperson and BetI Kamya, IGG.  PHOTOS/David Lubowa

What you need to know:

  • Cost. Cosase implicated Kamya and Finance Minister Matia Kasaija for their role in the Shs10.6b land compensation.

The Inspector General of Government (IGG), Ms Beti Kamya, has asked the High Court to quash a report by Parliament’s Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase), which implicated her and Finance Minister Matia Kasaija for their role in the Shs10.6b land compensation.
The IGG is now seeking general damages of Shs5b, exemplary damages of Shs800m, and punitive damages of Shs700m, arguing that she has been subjected to a lot of humiliation, mental torture, anguish and reputational damage.

On August 4, Parliament adopted Cosase’s report and called for investigations against Ms Kamya and Mr Kasaija.
However, in a notice of motion seeking a judicial review of the Cosase findings of September 23,  Ms Kamya, through her lawyers of ASB Advocates, argued that the Cosase report was illegal, improper and irrational.

She argued that Cosase made an irrational decision to investigate her for alleged role in “kicking off” the supplementary expenditure process without any basis or support of evidence showing the same.
The ombudsman also added that the findings and recommendations were arrived at with procedural impropriety or irrational evaluation of the evidence, facts and law applicable.
She further argued that the Cosase inquiry was irregular as the alleged impugned expenditure had been earlier inquired into and approved by the ad hoc committee and approved by the entire Parliament.

The Cosase committee chaired by Nakawa East MP Joel Ssenyonyi, found out that at least four land owners were wrongfully compensated for their land in various parts of the country.
These include Mr Geoffrey Mugisha, Mr Stephen Nagenda, Ms Natalia Namuli and Kosia Rwabukurukuru.
The committee noted that Ms Kamya, who was the then Minister of Lands, erroneously initiated the supplementary budget to compensate the land claimants yet this was supposed to be done by the Uganda Land Commission (ULC).
The committee further noted that the Shs10b compensation was shared among ghost claimants
Ms Kamya had told the committee that she was acting on a directive from the President to compensate the family of late Kosiya Rwabukurukuru.

For instance, the committee found out that though Ms Namuli was supposed to be compensated with Shs2.3b for her land in Kagadi, she was not the owner of the said land.
It was found out that a law firm of Lubega and Buzibira Co. advocates that represented her was fraudulently paid Shs2.3b  something that shocked the committee.
In her affidavit submitted to court, Ms Kamya clarified that she did not ask for a supplementary budget but rather requested the Finance ministry to provide funds to the ULC to urgently settle land claims, which included presidential directives, court orders and claims from sick claimants who expressed their urgent need for medical attention.

“…unlike other supplementary budgets, Parliament instituted an ad hoc committee to scrutinise the compensation claims wherein the committee went on the ground and visited the families of the claimants and in its findings verified and recommended payments to a tune Shs10.62b,” she states
She adds: “The Parliament’s ad hoc committee was appointed and mandated to inquire into the matter and its findings and report suggested and recommended that Parliament appropriates funds for the settlement of specific claimants as indicated in its report”.
She argued that the Cosase committee investigations, which led to the ‘impugned’ report, were conducted in violation of the principles of natural justice with procedural impropriety.