President Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Museveni, has backed the suspension of Uganda Land Commission (ULC) Chairperson, Ms Beatrice Byenkya Nyakaisiki, directing the Inspector General of Government (IGG) and the State House Anti-Corruption Unit (SHACU) to immediately take interest and investigate into the affairs of the commission.
The president also ordered IGG, Ms Beti Kamya and Gen Henry Isoke of SHACU to prosecute Ms Nyakaisiki and Secretary, Ms Barbarah Imaryo, over allegations of gross corruption, embezzlement, double payments and payment of ghost workers among other criminal acts all leading to loss of government funds.
“I hereby suspend them with immediate effect to pave way for investigations. By copy of this letter, I’m directing the Inspector General og Government and the State House Anti-Corruption Unit to investigate the above allegations and any other offences that could have been committed with a view of prosecuting the culprits,” Mr Museveni wrote.
The IGG had earlier suspended the duo to pave way for investigations reasoning that preliminary investigations into the management of ULC provide sufficient grounds to arrest them.
“It is, therefore, necessary that Byenkya steps aside so that she is not able to interfere with the investigations,” Ms Kamya told Lands Minister, Ms Judith Nabakooba in a letter dated November 2021.
“Besides, public interest demands that a public officer under investigation for abuse of office be interdicted from exercising powers and functions of her/his office for fear that s/he might interfere with investigations,” Ms Kamya, who is Nabakooba’s immediate predecessor, wrote.
Her letter ordering the interdiction was received by ULC on November 24, just days after Attorney General, Kiryowa Kiwanuka, ruled as illegal Ms Nabakooba’s decision to suspend Ms Nyakaisiki and commissioners together with their secretary Ms Imaryo.
In her letter dated October 28, 2021, Ms Nabakooba had also instructed Ms Nyakaisiki and the commissioners to step aside for two months to pave the way for investigations into alleged cases of abuse and misuse of commission resources.
They were supposed to hand over office to State Minister for Lands, Dr Sam Mayanja by November 12.
However, in a legal opinion, Mr Kiryowa advised Ms Nabakooba to withdraw her directive and instead write to President Museveni to take action as the appointing authority.
The President has since replied by sacking and ordering anti-graft agencies to investigate and prosecute the duo.