By Prossy Namiiro
Members of Parliament have sought to review CCTV footage to establish the transactions between a law firm, Lubega & Buzibira Co. Advocates and Nantalia Namuli.
The MPs on the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities, and State Enterprises (COSASE) are investigating the circumstances under which a Kampala based law firm, Lubega & Buzibira Co. Advocates represented 79-year-old Nantalia Namuli in the sale of 516 hectares of land in Kagadi district in Western Uganda.
The committee is also probing how businessman, Warren Mwesigye claims to have bought land valued at Shs2.09 billion at only Shs318 million and the role of the Namuli’s son-in-law, Peter Amara in the dealing.
Although all the witnesses and persons involved in the case have all interacted with the committee, they have all given contradictory statements prompting the committee to dig deeper.
Appearing before the committee on Wednesday 29 June 2022, Warren Mwesigye told the committee that he had bought the land at shs318 million and that he handed over the money to Natalia Namuli and her son-in-law on 25 July 2020 in the lawyers’ chambers at the NSSF House in Kampala.
“I remember the transaction was made on 25 July 2022; the agreement between me and Nantalia. She had a claim in Uganda Land Commission that had taken years, and she wanted money and wanted to sell her interest, so I paid them in Shs318 million in cash,” Mwesigye said.
Mawokota South Member of Parliament, Hon. Yusuf Nsibambi asked Mwesigye to explain if he felt that was fair and humane to the old lady.
“Legally you are covered but humanely, don’t you think this was unfair for this old woman,?” Nsibambi asked.
Lawyer Richard Buzibira also concurred with the businessman that money was handed over to the Nantalia and the son in law but the son in law and Namuli have both refuted that sums of money were handed to them.
However, Peter Amara who allegedly received the money with Nantalia said that on 25th July 2020 when the said transaction happened, he was not even in Kampala nor was Nantalia Namuli.
“I refute whatever he has said. We have never been paid and there is no way I can lie to this committee. In fact on the day he says we met, I was never in Kampala,” he said.
The Committee Chairperson, Joel Ssenyonyi directed that telephone printouts of all the parties involved be availed to help in investigations.
Ssenyonyi said that the committee will also look at all the bank accounts of all the persons involved to ascertain the transactions that happened.
“You are expected to give us your bank statements and also give us your bank accounts so that we can conduct our independent investigations,” Ssenyonyi said.
On investigating whether the old woman and the son in law were paid, the committee has directed that the management of NSSF House where the law firm is based, provide CCTV footage for that day for analysis.
The committee will work with the Police in Parliament and the security and ownership of the building to get the footage.
According to Ssenyonyi, the committee seeks to find out exactly if the meeting happened but also if the land owners reportedly walked out with a bag of shs300 million.
Ssenyonyi also said that Warren Mwesigye and the lawyers should be prepared to refund the money since they bought the interest from a ghost owner.
“Do you know that actually taxpayer’s money was wasted on a ghost, that you paid someone who doesn’t own the land,” he said.
The investigation follows a petition from the genuine owners of the land who have called for the halting of all activities related to the land.