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Parliament Mounts Pressure on Bamugemereire Commission Over Shs 13bn

Lawmakers have piled pressure on the Lands Ministry to account for over Shs 13bn handed to the Commission of inquiry into land issues headed by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire.

Reports that Shs 13bn has so far been used by the Commission shocked the nation.

This compelled Parliament to seek accountability of the funds or have resource taps blocked.

Bamugemereire has since reacted angrily over the Parliament’s tough stance, saying nothing will stand in her work.

But the Committee chairperson George Nsamba (Bbale County) did not mince his words, saying an accountability report must be handed to Parliament.

“Before we approve any further requests, can the Lands Minister first provide the actual expenditures by the Commission as at the end of the third quarter (2017/18) and also table the projected total budgetary requirements of the Commission till the conclusion of its assignment?” charged Nsamba.

While Bamugemereire’s Commission has managed to expose land grabbers in the country; she has been accused of high handedness by going beyond her mandate to issue orders outside the terms of reference.

Legal experts say Bamugemereire can only interview the witness but not detain them.

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Eria Mubiru and Peninah Busingye recently dragged Bamugemereire to court, accusing her of “arresting witnesses when her role is to investigate and give recommendations to the appointing authority.”

Meanwhile, Lands Minister Betty Amongi told Parliament that a budget allocation to the commission for the financial year 2017/18 was Shs 15bn or which Shs 12.9bn has so far been spent.

She said the Commission requested for another Shs 7bn as supplementary budget to execute its mandate.

Amongi said she had already instructed the Commission to provide a detailed accountability report to her office, a copy of which will be sent to Parliament.

In 2016, President Museveni constituted a Commission of Inquiry after rampant land evictions and complaints that he had been receiving from the public.

The Commission was tasked to look into the effectiveness of the law and processes of land acquisition, administration, management and registration in Uganda.

The final report is expected in May.

Other members of the committee are Mary Odupa Ochan, Ow’ekitibwa Robert Ssebunya, Ms. Joyce Habasa, Dr. Rose Nakayi, Hon. Fred Ruhindi, Mr. George Bagonza Tinkamanyire, Mrs. Olive Kazzarwe Mukwaya, Mr. Elbert Byenkya, Dr. Douglas Singiza and Mr. John Bosco Rujagaata, attended the meeting.

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