Land Commission boss charged, released on bail

Uganda Land Commission chairperson Ms Beatrice Nyakaisiki Byenkya with her co-accused in the court dock at the Anti-Corruption Court in Kampala on January 11, 2022. Photo | Abubaker Lubowa

What you need to know:

  • ULC boss Byenkya and her bodyguards are being investigated by the IGG for alleged abuse of office.

The chairperson of Uganda Land Commission, Ms Beatrice Nyakaisiki Byenkya, has been charged with abuse of office and obstruction of corruption investigations.

She appeared before the Anti-Corruption Court in Kololo, Kampala, yesterday. 

Ms Byenkya, who was moving with the aid of a walker, denied the charges and was released on a cash bail of Shs4m.
Her sureties were each bonded at Shs35m, not cash.

She is jointly charged with three police officers; Richard Godfrey Anywar, Titus Wamono, and Edward Turyatunga, all constables attached to the Commission.

The police officers were charged last week and sent on remand. They appeared before court yesterday for an update on how far the investigations had gone and also for bail application.  

Chief Magistrate Joan Aciro, while releasing Ms Byenkya and co-accused, rejected the prosecution’s calls to deny them bail on grounds that they would interfere with ongoing investigations.

“Court took note that Ms Byenkya moved with support so the court cannot ignore her medical condition and deny her bail. Consequently, A1 (Ms Byenkya) , A2 (Mr Anyway), A3 (Mr Wamono) are granted a cash bail of Shs4m and their sureties bonded at Shs35m,” she said.

“A4 (Mr Turyatunga) is accordingly denied bail on grounds that two of his sureties brought LC letters that weren’t in the court language as court failed to comprehend what was written,” Ms Aciro added.

The Inspector General of Government (IGG),  who is prosecuting the case, contends that the four accused people on January 4, without lawful justification, willfully hindered Mr Micheal Tumukurate, Mr Zakaria Tiberindwa, and the superintendent of police, Ms Noreen Akello, all from the office of the Inspectorate of Government, from carrying out a search in Ms  Byenkya’s office.

The IGG adds that the blocked officers were acting in the exercise of the powers conferred by the IGG Act, 2002.
Ms Byenkya is under investigation by the IGG on corruption-related incidents at the Commission.

Some of the files that the IGG sought to retrieve contained content of Nakayima land at Katale, Kajjansi Forest Reserve,  and National Forest Authority (NFA) land U24A to 40A.

Other files included that of land at Muvo,  Nabisunsa Girls’  School and land at Kikandwa.  The officers also wanted a report on the recruitment of staff at the Commission.

*Written by Ruth Anderah, Betty Ndagire and Anthony Wesaka.