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Toro queen mother’s ‘stolen’ Shs 4.5bn hs 4.5bn

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When Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura ordered the arrest of top city lawyer, Bob Kasango on Aug. 26, he believed he was executing an order by the President, Yoweri Museveni. He was wrong.

Kayihura had been told by Toro Queen Mother Best Olimi Kemigisa, who has a money dispute with Kasango, that the President had ordered the arrest.

Earlier that day, the queen mother had met the President on Aug 24 in Jinja. She had spent two nights in the eastern Uganda town trying to get audience with the president in vain. After a lot of maneuvering, the audience was granted.

State House sources say that the President’s protocol officials were shocked when she showed up with two other persons: Jonathan her nephew, who is the personal assistant to her and King Oyo Nyimba Iguru, and a Kampala lawyer, William Byaruhanga..

TThe President’s protocol officials insisted that only the queen mother would meet the President because she had not informed them about the other two people she was with. However, after a lot of haggling, they yielded. The meeting lasted little more than ten minutes. The president asked what had brought her.

The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Lands, Gabindade-Musoke, has stolen my money, she told the President.

Not exactly, intervened her lawyer, Byaruhanga, the government official is innocent. But, Byaruhanga told the President, although the government had paid Kemigisa Shs 4.5 billion for land she sold to the government, her lawyer, Bob Kasango, had walked away with all the money. He went to explain that Kasango not given any money to Kemigisa and that was criminal.

Shocked, the President asked what they wanted him to do. They said to compel Kasango to pay the money by having him arrested. Kemigisa and her lawyer also told the President that Kasango owns properties in Kampala and expensive vehicles that should be impounded and sold to recover money from him.

The President promised to look into the matter and the meeting ended. Upon leaving the meeting, the Queen mother called the President’s Principal Private Secretary (PPS), Grace Akello, informing her that the President had directed the immediate arrest of Kasango and that the PPS should cause that to happen by further communicating the President’s directives to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to cause the arrest. Akello refused. She reasoned that she only takes instructions from the President and not through third parties.

That is when the queen mother called Kayihura and Kasango was arrested.

State House has officially confirmed to The Independent that the President never promised to arrest Kasango nor has he ever instructed Kayihura to do so. When The Independent contacted Kayihura, he confirmed that the President never instructed him to arrest Kasango. Instead, said he had received a call from the queen mother claiming that the President had instructed him to arrest him.

According to Kayihura, he directed the arrest of Kasango after both the queen mother and her lawyers told him the President had ordered the arrest. He said he did not for a while think the queen mother and such senior lawyers would be untruthful with him. What is more, the police also reported Kasango to have been elusive and that he could not be reached by phone or in his office. Yet during this time, Kasango was available on his phones. In fact Kayihura told The Independent that he had held a meeting with Kasango on other official matters in his (IGP’s) office “two or three days” before he was arrested.

Inside story

President Museveni

Kasango told The Independent that even before it happened, he was aware William Byaruhanga was working to have him arrested. “He had been telling everyone who cared to listen and people who are impressed by such gossip that they have finished me this time. They spoke to everyone else except me. They even told my clients they were taking me to prison and that they should find other lawyers.”

It wasn’t the first time. Kasango said Byaruhanga’s partner, Andrew Kasirye went to CID headquarters in Kibuli sometime in May 2010 to register a criminal case against him and have him arrested.

“The CID was very professional and asked him to present documents and a statement from the complainant,” Kasango said, “Sensing that he would not get the extra-judicial embarrassment he desired for me, they dropped that line and instead elected to go and tell lies to the President and IGP.”

This time, Kasango, says that on the Aug. 11, after being approached by many responsible persons and clients who were concerned that William Byaruhanga was talking excessively ill of him and promising to send him to jail over the case, he decided to ask the queen mother about it.

He says he visited the queen mother at her residence in Munyonyo in the evening and in their conversation, she denied having any intentions to have him arrested and even challenged him if she had reported any matter to any police.

Instead, according to Kasango, she told him that it was the lawyers who were exerting pressure on her to have Kasango arrested.  She revealed that the lawyers had given her several documents which they said were to pin Kasango.

Kale Kayihura

Kasango said: “The Queen mother told me the lawyers had said to her, “we have given you bwino (a local slang for documentary evidence), now you should squeeze him. Have him arrested, he will bring money.

“She did not tell me what documents the lawyers had volunteered to her, but after the story was broken that I forged a letter, I formed the conviction that the forged letter is one of the documents. My conviction is buttressed by some other information a person close to William Byaruhanga volunteered to my wife regarding Byaruhanga’s role in having me arrested and what lengths, together with the queen mother they had gone to have me arrested regardless of the truth.”

When The Independent put this accusation to Andrew Kasirye, he denied having anything personal against Kasango but admitted that it was wrong on their part not to have written to Kasango demanding accountability on behalf of their client. “We believed the queen mother,” Kasirye says, “and if it is true that Kasango paid her, then she lied to us and that was wrong and unfair of her to us and to Kasango.” When The Independent revealed to Kasirye that they are in possession of authenticated bank documents indicating large payments amounting to about Shs 3 billion made by Kasango to the queen mother or to third parties on her behalf, Kasirye answered, “Then she is a liar and that is why we withdrew from the case because we discovered that there is something personal between her and Kasango and not just money and she was using us to fight her battles.”

Queen mother’s testimony

Andrew Kasirye, a senior partner in the law firm, Kasirye, Byaruhanga & Company Advocates, told The Independent that the Queen mother told him that she had not received any money from Kasango. “She told me this several times,” he told The Independent. “Even when newspapers reported that she had received money, I called her to express our concerns. She insisted that she had never received even a coin from Kasango.”

More intriguing, the queen mother wrote to the Attorney General (AG) advising that Kasango is instructed to collect money on her behalf. Yet according to Kasirye, the queen mother told them, as her lawyers, that she never gave Kasango any instructions to collect money on her behalf. She said the letter to the AG was a forgery.

But Gabindade wrote to Kemigisa’s lawyers saying that the queen mother had instructed him to pay all the money to Kasango’s law firm, Hall & Partners and also confirmed that the queen mother even talked to him about the matter and confirmed that Hall & Partners should receive the money on her behalf.

In her statement to the police, which was recorded in her house in the presence of her lawyers, the queen mother positively reiterated her claim that Kasango has not paid her any money from the proceeds of the sale of her land.

When Andrew Mwenda, the Managing Editor of The Independent, who is related to Kemigisa and is also Kasango’s business partner visited her, the Queen mothertold him that Kasango had paid her “some little money” – about Shs 400 million only – after the first release of her funds. When asked how much money she believes Kasango owed her, she said she did not know.

Because of the conflicting information from the queen mother, her lawyers felt that they could not continue to represent her.

First, newspapers had reported that she had received some money yet she was claiming to have received nothing. Secondly, she was denying ever writing to the Attorney General instructing him to pay her money to Kasango yet Gabindade confirmed that she actually did. This record convinced her lawyers that even the Gabindade letter she claims Kasango forged may not be a genuine claim.

Lawyers quit

The queen mother’s lawyers have since quit the case and the matter is in court. However, Kasango’s arrest raises several questions. Do the police investigate before they arrest or they arrest and then investigate? Does the statement of a complainant amount to evidence upon which a suspect should be arrested? Who should be responsible for the irresponsible acts of certain public officials? These questions raise serious competence and credibility issues for the police. Taxpayers ought to be concerned that when public officers like the police err and the government is sued, the taxpayer picks the sometimes huge bill.

The Independent has also learnt that Byaruhanga has offered to discuss the matter with Kasango and offer an apology if it is true Kasango paid the queen mother. To that Kasango said, “Yes it is true some mutual friends have attempted to mediate in the matter and said to me that William is ready to apologize if the queen mother lied to them. But what does the apology serve me? The damage is done and done extensively and badly. His apology serves no useful purpose to me”.

Omukama of Bunyoro, Solomon Iguru Gafabusa (C) and president Museveni (R) dancing on amakondere cultural dance during the 10th Coronation Anniversary of King Oyo Nyimba at Karuzika Palace on 4th Mar, 2006.  INDEPENDENT/FILE PHOTO

Kasango, who spoke very emotionally, said: Byaruhanga said of me, words laced with acid and bitter lies, nothing he does can take that back. He came with the queen mother and Andrew Kasirye to me while I was in custody, they came at midnight in the company of my wife and demanded that unless I pay them Shs.2 billion by Aug. 31 2010 and refund all the legal fees I was paid within six months, the President had directed Maj. Gen Kayihura never to release me. I signed for them what they wanted knowing I would challenge it and only because my wife was in tears. How can I sit to talk to such people? Andrew Kasirye on his part is a former President of the Uganda Law Society and his behavior in this matter to me was to be polite, crude and malicious. Byaruhanga has made it his top agenda to fight me and he has done this in three different cases. He has gone to the extent of signing a Retainer Agreement with one of my client with the full knowledge that I was representing the same client and had a retainer agreement too. In this particular matter of Kemigisa, he approached her thrice, convincing her to take away instrutions from me and give them to him. On each occasion she told me the full discussion they had but I ignored Byaruhanga. I was wrong, I should have taken action against him and have him disciplined by the Law Council.

“I am finding it very hard to forgive and Our Lord’s Prayer makes more sense to me than ever before – lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. The temptation to revenge and do evil to the queen mother and her lawyers is almost unbearable but I am strengthened in my belief in a Higher Being and that everything in life happens for a reason. I am asking God to reveal that reason to me but it’s taking a little long”.

Did Kasango pay Queen Mother?

Kemigisa instructed Kasango to represent her in the matter by a letter dated October 18, 2006, a copy of which The Independent has seen. On the December 5, 2006, Kasango and Kemigisa executed two Retainer Agreements for legal fees – one for Shs.1 billion and the other for Shs.600 million; total Shs 1.6 billion, that is, 35 percent of proceeds from the sale.

The queen mother’s instructions to Kasango were to pursue the undertaking by the government to purchase land from the queen mother. The land was valued at Shs 4.5 billion.

Bob Kasango

The transaction between the queen mother and the government had been going on since 2002. At the time, the queen mother had retained a different law firm to represent her. No progress had been made and she was frustrated. Kasango was recommended to her as a lawyer who could make things move.

“When I first met her over this matter in September 2006, it was clear to me that she was frustrated and almost depressed by the lack of movement on the matter,” Kasango said to The Independent, “The president had given three written instructions that her payments be made, and even given deadlines when the payment should be made but nothing had happened.

“I did not at the time know why. My job was therefore not just to get her paid but to manage both her frustration and expectation, and more crucially, to impress it upon her that it was not just her who had not been paid, the queue is long and nobody has anything personal against her.”

The Independent has established the queen mother also authorized Kasango to receive the money and deduct his fees directly. This is reduced in the retainer agreements signed by Kasango and Kemigisa on December 5, 2006.

Kasango and Kemigisa established a relationship of mutual trust. According to both Kasango and Kemigisa, they were good friends.

“Bob is a very intelligent young man from who I sought very valuable advice on many issues and we had a good working relationship,” Kemigisa in particular told The Independent’s Managing Editor, “ I became frustrated with him when I could not access him easily or anymore. I used to speak to him at least twice a week, then suddenly he cut off communication. He was unreachable and that was frustrating. I did not want this matter to get this far, but I could not find him so that we could sit and discuss amicably.”

When The Independent put this accusation to Kasango, he expressed surprise.

“The queen mother was my client and friend and we had a mutually respectful relationship. I did what I was meant to do – recover her money and passed it on to her. At that point, I was in constant touch with her and once that was done, I had no obligation to keep in constant touch with her,” Kasango said.

He added: “What she did not tell you is that my cutting telephone contact and physical meetings with her had to do with her attempt at convincing me to do something which was manifestly illegal and criminal in respect of this transaction.

“First she tried to get me to be part of a conspiracy to steal the Certificates of Title from Government and give them back to her and then she tried to make a second claim for compensation in respect of the same land and exerted so much pressure on me to be engaged in that criminal scheme. For both transactions, I found them professionally revolting and morally unacceptable but also practically impossible although she said to me she had people in government who had said to her it was possible.”

In the interview with The Independent, Kasango insisted that he owed the queen mother no money at all but instead she owed him monies he had advanced to her prior to the payments by the government.

The Independent has confirmed with authenticated bank documents that Kasango paid Kemigisa monies which together with the agreed legal fees amount to Shs 4.3 billion. This is based on documentary evidence provided, not by Kasango, but by banks.

Kasango told The Independent he had officially written to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and attached all copies of payments made to the queen mother before the charges were sanctioned. At his indictment in court, Kasango referred to the charges as nonsensical. These charges, he told The Independent, “are only for their nuisance value and meant to embarrass me”.

So why does the queen mother insist on saying she received nothing?  That is the question baffling many. Kasango says he knows the answer and, since he is now in court, he will say it in court for all to hear.

“I am not baffled by what she is saying because people go mad and greed can drive even the sane to behave in ways you least expect. What baffles me is why the police did what they did to me and why did the DPP’s office think this is a case they will win or worth taking to court?”

Comments (26)Add Comment
written by Kevin, October 06, 2010
Where in this world wide do lawyers charge excessive fees to the tune of 35% of a clients transaction if they are not con men? Bob, your statements to the independent are aimed at covering up first the theft of monies owed to your client with the help of your buddy Mwenda and two with hope of redeeming your "image". You are a crook and you will remain so. To give you credit though, you managed to bang that fine old ass of mbu Queen mother before greed got the better part of you. So what are you gonna say in court that you didn't run your mouth in the "independent". My guess is love gone bad. It's time to pay up you robber with your lame defence.
Give both parties the benefit of doubt
written by joe jones, October 06, 2010
Before you rush to conclusions u need to listen to both parties and the court will determine who is right.
It is Toro's money not Kemigisa's
written by Mukiibi Mugerwa, October 06, 2010
Does the money belong to the queen mother or the Kingdom of Toro as an institution?. That too is a question to ask.
written by kato, October 06, 2010
Kevin is on the money. Kasango has a history on feasting on good looking granny like women. But this is a new low for mwenda, to allow his magazine to be used to fight personal wars after coming to terms that he had turned it into kagame's newsletter. yes kasango is his long time friend but this kind of jounalism is so revolting.
The Kingdom of Toro's money
written by Willy Mutenza, October 06, 2010
I just wonder how the lawyers can justify such a percetage. Almost 30% of the clients money for writing a few letters. The Queen's mother deserves to claim every penny back.
written by Mukiibi Mugerwa, October 06, 2010
That woman is known for taking off her panties for anyone who has money or power. Well this time it cost her some money. That is if you consider that 4.5bn as hers. Im ny view it should belong to the people of Toro. We are therefore talking of a chain of thefts. First of all the people of Uganda are robbed of 4.5bn shillings in a transactions that has doubtable Value for Money benefits, then the people of toro are robbed of the money which should go to the consolidated fund of toro, then when she thought she had her loot secured, Kasango retains a whole 35% as "fees" --- A chain of robbery.
written by Major Adam Kifaliso, October 06, 2010
this is now a big trouble ! why did queenmother sell her land to m7 ? does the land belong to that part of land with minerals and oil ? were people of Toro consulted ? was m7 using his money to buy that land ?
Toro people its time to join Federal movement and claim your land back , did m7 buy this land on behalf of some foreigners ?
written by magezi.b, October 07, 2010
yeah if c'mon batooro ask of wether the money belongs to the queen mother or tooro , they would say she is legally entitled but there 're some babiito who could need help, with such amount of money so mrs queen madam instead of bringing back tooro's property ur feasting on it like ahyena . to hell with u , infact ur adisgrace , sorry if i attacked .
written by Thomas, October 07, 2010
Mwenda ,i think you are getting mad , see now yr involvment with this guy in addition to Kagame . from the article title its biased.
written by BOVA LEROY LUBWAMA, October 07, 2010
URA and Kagina are you following the story plz try and tax this transaction bcoz 35% fees collected from these sort of transactions is a lot money. URA should tax Kasango heavily with accrued interest for the good of our country.
written by BOVA LEROY LUBWAMA, October 07, 2010
URA and Kagina are you following the story plz try and tax this transaction bcoz 35% fees collected from these sort of transactions is a lot money. URA should tax Kasango heavily with accrued interest for the good of our country.
written by BOVA LEROY LUBWAMA, October 07, 2010
URA and Kagina are you following the story plz try and tax this transaction bcoz 35% fees collected from these sort of transactions is a lot money. URA should tax Kasango heavily with accrued interest for the good of our country.
written by Major Adam Kifaliso, October 07, 2010
the way m7 has gone to steal everything from Ugandans is not to go un punished , Bunyoro must demand data on oil reserves in its kingdom and ignore m7 agreements with foreign thieves , The king of Bunyoro must guard the property and wealth of Bunyoro againist the greedy Tutsis , Bunyoro matters more to Banyoro than Uganda , the oil reservior is shared with your kins men across the border , you can join them and form an oil rich state other than giving your wealth to foreign invanders
You thieves
written by sandra kembabazi, October 08, 2010
Andrew Mwenda you dont sound relevant anymore. i wish you could borrow a leaf from Timothy Kalyegira otherwise you are just the same as your friend Kasango too greddy

William is more of a man than you two greedy men but ugandans will not forget
written by Galiwango Daniel, October 08, 2010
“First she tried to get me to be part of a conspiracy to steal the Certificates of Title from Government and give them back to her and then she tried to make a second claim for compensation in respect of the same land and exerted so much pressure on me to be engaged in that criminal scheme. For both transactions, I found them professionally revolting and morally unacceptable but also practically impossible although she said to me she had people in government who had said to her it was possible

if wat kasongo is saying abt d queen is tru, then Katonda atusasire kuba buno kati si bubbi wabula bunyazi
written by DEVILS ADVOCATE, October 09, 2010
Dear editor its quite amazing at how much gabagge you some times allow to find space in this print. Has some one bothered to tell you that this is not a village weekly !! As a visitor to this site,i should anticipate value for my money, but some of the stories being posted on this site should be confined to village local prints pse.Uganda has better and bigger thieves with more impotant victims so give us a break.
The true 'independent'
written by The true 'independent', October 10, 2010
I had high regard for 'The Independent' but I am shocked that their journalistic ethics.
Is it ethical for them to run a story involving a director of the magazine and parties with whom the director has bitter disagreements? Bob Kasango's reputation is finished and 'the independent' may go down with it. Ethics, ethics, ethics. Do we have the moral authority to go after politicians when our own journalistic ethics are out the wonder?
written by David Basobokwe, October 12, 2010
Guys, what &#xge; did kemigisha and kasango agree? they are both liars.
written by Martin, October 13, 2010
Mwenda how much in Rwanda paying you.Is this a Rwandese newspaper or Ugandan??? .Back to Kasango,Mwenda and kasango are good friends and business associates.They are both involved in scumming the Queen.Mwenda is just defending his partner in crime.
Martin D
written by GLORIA, October 15, 2010
impressed by all those judging Kemigisha and kkasango.SHAME ON YOU!!!
Kemigisha is just an ordinary sinner/woman just as Kasango is any ordinary lawyer.
If they have disagrements thats the ORDINARY court to deciede.
How can anyone speak about ethics in this country?

P.S. Dedication to mwenda and kasango 'if my brother is in trouble.
written by Kasiwukira, October 17, 2010
What's does Mwenda has to answer for, in this artcle? May be for owning the Independent! The guy is not a lawyer.
The woman is a treasure!
written by Treasure, October 26, 2010
That woman is a treasure. Ask anyone who has been between her legs and you will know!. That is why Kasango wanted to stay there, but the cost!!!!!!!!!!>
thigh power
written by Rigosong, October 26, 2010
Guyz, all comments written are worth reading, but Kasango has a right to be written about in any print and Mwenda too has a right to his opinion. It's upon readers to chose to believe or not to, in any case the whole saga should be before some judge. Kasango isn't new to stories involving money and there seems to be a tight fit between Kemigisha and land, as a resident of Fort portal once claimed he had been robbed of his land by the same. In this case though, the "mutual trust/ respect" must be s'thing more than just money; I think Kasango ate the fruits, that now taste sour to him, yet he was allowed to cut a whopping 35% commision!! Bob next time keep ya zippers up.
Amb musana patrick kitumba
written by MUSANA PATRICK KITUMBA, November 29, 2010
let them get saved, for there's judgement of all wrong things done on this earth en Jesus is the way ,truth en life.
musana patrick
written by MUSANA PATRICK KITUMBA, November 29, 2010
let them be save ,for Jesus says is the way thuth en life read Gospel according to Jon 14:6
written by led from china, November 16, 2013
We had clearly stated in out petition that we submitted to the GoM last week that only a part of Hyderabad, like the Khairatabad Mandal, should be earmarked as the joint capital of the two states

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