Lawyers held as legislators probe Shs2.3b land compensation deal

Mr Richard Buzibira, one of the lawyers who was arrested, appears before legislators on June 28, 2022. PHOTO/DAVID LUBOWA

What you need to know:

  • Considering the contradictory positions from lawyers of the same firm, MPs ordered the arrest of the duo as the committee gathers details to aid further investigation into the matter.

Lawmakers  on the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) yesterday ordered the detention of two lawyers for allegedly masterminding the sale of land that is believed to have belonged to Ms Natalia Namuli at Shs318 million in Kagadi District.

The committee heard that lawyers Richard Buzibira and Kyle Lubega were involved in the sale of the disputed land to businessman Warren Mwesigye, who was later paid Shs2.3b drawn from the coffers of the Uganda Land Commission (ULC.)

The issue emerged yesterday after MPs found that Mr Mwesigye never appeared in the list of the beneficiaries as ealier submitted to Cosase but only surfaced yesterday in their interface with committee members and ULC officials. The committee chairperson, Mr Joel Ssenyonyi, asked: “What is interesting is that the name Warren Mwesigye is surfacing right now. We interfaced with you and your account was that your client Namuli came to your office with all these documents, there was no mention of the name Warren. And you told us that you eventually got the money and paid Namuli cash. What has changed now? How come you have changed your statements? Who do you want us to believe?”

Mr Buzibira clarified that he had held back the name because the matter was a discrete issue.
However, Mr Ssenyonyi insisted that it was improper since the money under question is for taxpayers.

The committee proceedings, however, took a twist when Ms Namuli’s son- in-law, Mr Peter Amara, said it was Mr Buzira who had introduced the businessman to the family and that he was lined up to cover all costs that would be incurred in the process of pursuing the compensation money. He reiterated that his mother never received the money.

Ms Namuli was made to sign a document, and it only emerged later that she had unknowingly passed over her powers to the businessman as the sole beneficiary of the land.

“I transferred the powers of attorney and they were irrevocable where the counsel was supposed to deal with the client up to the end. Immediately counsel brought documents introducing Warren [and told us that] he can ably help. Warren wasn’t around at the time, Namuli went to Buzibira and he drew all the documents once,” Mr Amara said.

Considering the contradictory positions from lawyers of the same firm, MPs ordered the arrest of the duo as the committee gathers details to aid further investigation into the matter.


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