Kamya, Byenkya trade blame before Cosase

Uganda Land Commission chairperson Beatrice Nyakaisiki Byenkya (left) and Inspector General of Government, who is the former Lands Minister, Ms Beti Kamya, appear before the Committee on Commissions, State Authorities, and State Enterprises at Parliament yesterday. PHOTO / DAVID LUBOWA

What you need to know:

  •  The officials had appeared before the parliamentary Committee on Commissions, State Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) to explain their role in the Shs10.6 billion supplementary budget that reportedly originated from the Ministry of Lands as opposed to the ULC in whose accounts the money was deposited.

Inspector General of Government Beti Kamya yesterday clashed with the suspended chairperson of Uganda Land Commission (ULC), Ms Beatrice Nyakaisiki Byenkya, over poor work relations.

 The officials had appeared before the parliamentary Committee on Commissions, State Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) to explain their role in the Shs10.6 billion supplementary budget that reportedly originated from the Ministry of Lands as opposed to the ULC in whose accounts the money was deposited.

 Trouble started when the committee chairperson, Mr Joel Ssenyonyi, told Ms Kamya, who is also the former Lands minister, that the Auditor General, in his 2020/2021 audit report, faulted her of originating a supplementary budget to pay six claimants worth Shs10.6b.

Ms Kamya denied the allegations, adding that she only wrote to the Minister of Finance requesting money for the ULC to pay the six claimants.

 “For the record, I did not initiate a supplementary. The supplementary budget is a technical issue and it is normally done by the permanent secretary. What is true is that I wrote a letter to the minister of Finance asking him to provide money for compensation of those people who sold land to the government. Whatever originated after that was the work of the permanent secretary and, therefore, to say that I originated the budget is very wrong,” Ms Kamya told the committee.

 “There were two issues at the time, the issue of Ndeeba Church and Lusanja, those were compulsory acquisition of land, which is managed by Ministry of Lands. I was requesting for two sets of funds because the President had said he was going to buy the land to be given to the church. The other one was for Lusanja and these were the two upon which I asked the minister to provide money for,” she added.

 Prior to yesterday, members of the ULC had denied knowledge of the supplementary request and told the committee that when the money was deposited in the commission’s account, they refused to approve the payment, but the accounting officer, Ms Barbra Imaryo, who has since gone into hiding, defied them and paid the claimants.

 When the legislators asked who Ms Kamya consulted before putting the request, she said she got presidential directives and also petitions from some of the claimants.

 Ms Kamya added that she consulted the accounting officer of ULC and after generating the list, they had to act so that the said claimants could be compensated.

 She, however, accused Ms Byenkya of being a difficult person to work with, saying: ‘‘she preferred to always communicate directly to the President’’.

 Ms Byenkya, however, insisted that Ms Kamya originated the supplementary request without consulting the Commission.

“I still repeat and insist that we were not part of the supplementary budget request process that is why I protested to the Speaker when I heard about it. It is true we wanted money, but we wanted it without tagging a list to it because we had our own processes of determining who should be compensated and when,” Ms Byenkya said.

 She also said she communicated with the President when Ms Kamya was pushing them to continue allocating land to beneficiaries yet the Commission wanted to carry out proper due diligence.

 “She is accusing me of not wanting to work with her, but that only happened once over Naguru-Nakawa land issue,” Ms Byenkya said.

The committee later ordered Ms Kamya and Ms Byenkya to present copies of the presidential directives and other correspondences by next Monday to back up their claims.

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