Solicitor General Grilled over Sh10bn Compensation to Mzee Byanyima

Members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament were Monday shocked to learn that officials from the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs led by the Solicitor General,  Francis Atoke misappropriated money to a tune of Sh10bn claiming it was compensation to former DP Chairman Mzee Boniface Byanyima for his Ranch in Nyabushozi in Kiruhura District.

The committee chaired by the Soroti district Woman Member of Parliament Angelina Osege discovered that in the financial year 2014/15, the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs requested for a supplementary budget worth Sh18.9bn to clear some of the compensation in which Mzee Byanyima was to receive 10billion as compensation for his ranch of 2 square miles of the land taken over by government.

During the interface, legislators found out that of the Sh18.9bn requested as supplementary, Sh10bn was to be paid as compensation but the proof of payment of this amount could not be produced to the committee.

Confusion arose when the Justice Ministry Principal Accountant Charles Onen told the committee that they had asked for the supplementary to give 10bn to Mzee Byanyima, yet according to the Auditor General’s report, Byanyima was only entitled to Shs. 4.4bn.

Mzee Boniface Byanyima with his daughter Winnie Byanyima
Mzee Boniface Byanyima with his daughter Winnie Byanyima

Given the conflicting information, the committee resolved to put the officials to oath before grilling them further to ascertain the real payment that was made to Mzee Byanyima.

At this point, the Ministry Principal Accountant, Charles Onen produced proof of payment which showed that Byanyima was only paid Sh2bn out of the Sh4.4bn which was approved to be paid as compensation for his ranch.

The members of parliament on this committee who include Angelina Osege, Gerald Karuhanga, Joseph Sewungu Gonzaga and Jinja district Woman MP, Loy Katali demanded for a Bank of Uganda statement print out showing who received the Sh10bn out of the Sh18.9 billion of the then supplementary budget.

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