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Uganda Land Commission boss Beatrice Byenkya appears before Anti-Corruption Court

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The Chairperson of Uganda Land Commission, Beatrice Nyakaisiki Byenkya has been arraigned before the Anti-Corruption Court.

Last week, the Inspectorate of Government (IG) led by Inspector General of Government (IGG) Betty Kamya charged Mrs. Byenkya and three police constables for obstruction of search contrary to Section 35 (g) of the Inspectorate of Government Act and abuse of office contrary to Section 11 (1) (2) of the Anti-Corruption Act, 2002.

The three Police Constables who include; Anywar Richard, Titus Wamono and Edward Turyatunga were later remanded to Kitalya Prison.

Appearing before Chief Magistrate Joan Aciro earlier today, Byenkya denied all the charges. She subsequently applied for bail. The Magistrate adjourned the matter to 2:30PM when she ruled on bail application.

Byenkya’s trouble started in February last year when she blocked the approval of the Ministry of Lands  supplementary funding for the financial year 2020/21 of shs292 billion, after it emerged that a request of shs12 billion for compensation of Six individuals affected by land evictions without the knowledge of the Uganda Land Commission (ULC).

The individuals who were meant to be compensated included among others Dodoviko Mwanje, a man who demolished Ndeba Church of Uganda and Medard Kiconco who evicted people in Lusanja.  Byenkya questioned the criteria used to first place the two on the list along several claimants who have been waiting for so many years.

In September last year, Byenkya petitioned the Bank of Uganda citing fraud in payments from the Land Fund. On 2nd October 2021 she wrote to the Director of the Criminal Investigations Directorate of Uganda Police calling for quizzing of ULC officers. Several offers were later nabbed for overpayment, issuing fake land titles, bribery and sundry.

The accused officers who include; Prof Jack H. Nyeko Pen-Mogi, Mr Tom John Fisher Kasenge, Mr Charles K. Muhoozi, Ms Stella Achan, Mr Bujara Rukiika, Haji Asuman Kyafu, and Hajat Madina Nsereko ganged up and petitioned Lands Minister accusing Byenkya of misconduct and corruption.

October last year, the Lands Minister Judith Nabakooba suspended ULC top bosses including Byenkya, on allegations of misconduct and abuse of office. In a letter dated October 12, 2021 Judith Nabakooba asked IGG Betty Kamya to investigate the matter. In response Kamya ordered for the interdiction of Byenkya to give way for investigations. She in tandem relieved Barbarah Imaryo of her duties as secretary of the Commission.

In retaliation, Byenkya ran to Court to block the interdiction. On December 30, 2021, High Court judge Musa Ssekaana issued an order halting the interdiction till the matter is disposed of.

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