The Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities, and State Enterprises (COSASE) has summoned the finance minister, Hon. Matia Kasaija, for snubbing the committee probe twice.
COSASE is probing the Shs10.6 billion supplementary payment to six landowners in the Bunyoro and Buganda regions. Among the six landowners is the Lusanja land in Kyadondo belonging to Medard Kiconco and the Ndeeba Church land belonging to Ephraim Enterprises.
However, the committee seeks to investigate why only six people out of the many received compensation, and yet some of the people who were left out had overstayed on the compensation list.
The committee is also querying the origin of the supplementary as the Uganda Land Commission says it was not consulted by the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, which asked for the supplementary of Shs10 billion.
On Thursday, the committee led by its chairperson, Hon. Joel Ssenyonyi, was examining the Auditor General’s Report for Financial Year 2020/2021 and sought to find out from the finance minister about the process of releasing the supplementary, but he was no show.
Kasaija was first invited to appear before the committee on Tuesday, May 17. He wrote back to the committee requesting a reschedule to Thursday, saying he was engaged with state duties.
Ssenyonyi said that the committee decided to summon the minister, who did not appear and without any communication, for now, the second time. He says the minister is not above the law.
“He requested us to extend the day of the meeting. We gave him an appropriate day that was requested by him, which was today, May 26, but he did not communicate. We have summoned him and if he does not respond, we shall have to escalate the matter further,” Ssenyonyi said.
Meanwhile, Hon. Pius Wakabi, the Bugahya County MP in Hoima district, disclosed to the committee that while it was not officially communicated, Kasaija had flown out of the country to participate in the 2022 annual meeting of the African Development Bank Group in Accra, Ghana.
The Hon. Charles Bakabulindi, the Workers’ MP, noted that Kasaija is known for contempt of Parliament, arguing that he ought to have written back to the committee to show courtesy and commitment.
According to the Auditor General’s report, the Shs10.6 billion was used to compensate beneficiaries, including Kasiya Rwabukurukuru, who received Shs6.43 billion for land at Kiyunga in Sheema district, and Stephen Peter Nagenda of Rwanswa in Kibaale district, who received Shs1.06 billion.
The others are Julius Busuulwa who received Shs1.4 billion, Natalia Namuli who received Shs1.6 billion, Yisaka Lwakana who received Shs125.3 million, and Geoffrey Mugisha who received Shs1.49 billion for land at Buyaga in Kibaale district.