‘You Should Have Gathered Enough Evidence First Before Making Accusations’ Court Gives IGG Office One Month To Avail Evidence Against ULC Boss Beatrice Byenkya
By Uganda Online Media
Kampala: The Anti-corruption court has Tuesday given the Inspectorate of Government (IG) up to 18 of March 2022 to complete their investigations and avail incriminating evidence against Uganda Land Commission Chairperson Beatrice Byenkya Nyakaisiki.
While adjourning the matter to March 18, 2022, the court noted that it shall not entertain any other adjournment on basis of the collection of evidence on the prosecution side.
Court also said on that day the hearing date will be fixed and thereafter they’ll start hearing the case.
The prosecution side requested more time arguing that they were still investigating. However, Byenkya’s lawyers objected that the prosecution should have first done the investigations before taking any other course of action.
“Your worship, what they’re doing now is what they should have done before bringing our client here. This is totally contrary to known legal procedure your worship,” Byenkya’s lead counsel Tibaijuka Ateenyi submitted.
Beatrice Nyakaisiki was slapped with charges of abuse of office and obstruction of search along with her three police constables including PC Anywar Richard, PC Titus Wamono and PC Edward Turyatunga.
According to IG, Beatrice Byenkya Nyakaisiki, PC Anywar Richard, PC Titus Wamono and PC Edward Turyatunga on 4th January 2022 at Uganda Land Commission, Kampala without lawful justification or excuse, willfully obstructed and hindered Mr. Tumukurate Michael, Mr. Zakaria Tiberindwa, and Superintendent of Police Noreen Akello all from the Inspectorate of Government from carrying out a search in the office of Chairperson Uganda Land Commission while they were acting in the exercise of powers conferred by the Inspectorate of Government Act, 2002.
“Hon. Beatrice Byenkya Nyakaisiki, PC Anywar Richard, PC Titus Wamono and PC Edward Turyatunga while employed as Chairperson Uganda Land Commission and Police Constables respectively, at Kampala, on 4th January 2022 did in abuse of authority of their offices, wilfully obstructed and hindered the lawful search of the office of the Chairperson Uganda Land Commission, arbitrary acts prejudicial to the interests of their employer the Government of Uganda and the Inspectorate of Government,” IG noted
Byenkya’s troubles started last year in October when the Minister of Lands, Judith Nabakooba suspended ULC bosses including her accusing them of being corrupt.
Then, Nabakooba took over the duties of managing the Commission before asking IGG Betty Kamya to investigate Byenkya and colleagues.
Responding to Nabakooba’s requests, Kamya, ordered for the interdiction of Byenkya from her position as Chairperson of the commission which Byenkya reversed through the court that issued an interim order ordering her to stay on until the main application challenging her interdiction and allegations against her is heard.
Meanwhile, Byenkya’s lawyers argue that both line minister and IGG Beti Kamya continue to commit illegalities by trying to usurp powers of the appointing authority by attempting to fire an appointee of the president without getting such mandate from the appointing authority. “He who appoints disappoints. It’s only the president who can fire ULC C/person. Any other person or authority can only act on his behalf. A president can delegate a line minister or IGG to act on his behalf, but it has to be in writing with clear instructions. Non has got such communication from the president,” argued one of Byenkya’s lawyers who preferred to remain anonymous.
Addressing the media recently, Byenkya revealed that these are political battles from powerful individuals who have encroached on public land and now want her out of office so they can complete their deals unabated.
“Everybody in Uganda knows that anything connected to the land is a sensitive matter, it is a matter that concerns everybody so that is why we have been in the press for wrong reasons. We work at an institution but believe me or not, we have other influences from outside. You find people with godparents but for me, I don’t have a godparent. I was just appointed by the grace of God,” she said.
Last week, Parliament squeezed officials from the IGG office accusing Kamya of using her office to witch hunt Byenkya which they said stems from Byenkya’s deep rivalry with Kamya when she was line minister.
“There are allegations that you are fighting personal wars; she [Ms Kamya] was a supervisor of the Uganda Land Commission Chairperson and they had fundamental differences; as an Ombudsman, you should never find yourselves in such circumstances,” said MP Fox Oywelowo Odoi (NRM, West Budama North-East).
For MP Asuman Basalirwa (Jeema, Bugiri Municipality), the top challenge faced by the IGG is a lack of interest in pursuing matters relating to advocating for the rule of law, which he said is one of their chief mandates.
“I need to know why the IGG has consistently shied away from matters of rule of law and the conduct of security officers which is in the public domain; fighting corruption is not the only mandate of the IGG,” he said.
It should be remembered that when Kamya when still line minister presented a multi-billion Budget to parliament to allegedly compensate landowners including Kusanje and Ndeeba. Byenkya, before the committee vehemently opposed Kamya’s proposal it was finally kicked out.
Byenkya argued that the budget had been inflated without her involvement as Chairperson. Kamya bite her teeth in the committee for the entire duration till she moved out. She has never ‘forgiven’ Byenkya from that time. Pundits say Kamya is simply exposing herself further.