Parliament deferred the approval of a supplementary budget of Shs292 billion for the financial year 2020/21 after it emerged that a request of Shs12 billion for compensation of individuals affected by land evictions in Bunyoro was made without the knowledge of the Uganda Land Commission.
This was noted by Hon. Gaffa Mbwatekemwa of Kasambya County who informed the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga that he had evidence that the Land Commission was not consulted before the supplementary request was made.
“I want the Minister (Hon Beti Kamya) to tell the House who initiates a supplementary. Within few minutes, I will bring a document from the Uganda Land Commission. They are protesting this supplementary because they are not aware of the people to be compensated in Bunyoro,” he said.
The letter from the Chairperson of Uganda Land Commission, Byenkya Beatrice Nyakaisiki which raised concern about the compensations was read by Mukono South MP, Hon. Johnson Muyanja Senyonga.
“I am dismayed and displeased that whilst watching Parliament on UBC this afternoon, I heard a list of people to be paid out as submitted by the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development,” reads part of the letter.
“The commission is not privy to this list and wants the Minister to be brought to order for having usurped its powers knowingly. The Under Secretary who is two weeks old, accompanied the Minister as courtesy from the User Agency of these monies. To hood-wick parliament that we are privy to this list is deplorable.”
“Therefore I am kindly imploring your good office to un-tag the money given to Uganda Land Commssion so that it van expeditiously carry out its mandated responsibility. I await your positive response with much anxiety and gratitude,” the letter further read.
Hon Beti Kamya, the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development was tasked to explain the matter and justify the need for the supplementary budget as MPs advised her to discuss the budget and reconcile with the Lands Commission.
“The Minister of Lands wrote to the Minister of Finance and brought all these matters to him and asked that funds should be provided for compensation of individuals in Bunyoro,” Kamya said adding that, “the letter was copied to the Uganda Land Commission three months ago and the Commission acting not in good faith did not raise the matter. The letter which has just been read is not even copied to the Minister of Finance and Lands.”
This prompted Speaker Kadaga to suspend the approval of the supplementary budget in its entirety.
“I have also received a letter and we need to ensure that we are moving together on this supplementary. I want to advise that we stand over the matter and allow the Budget Committee, the minister and all the stakeholders to review this matter,” she ruled.