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Former Minister Bitangaro in Luzira over Kassanda land saga

William Tumwine and his wife in court

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Former Minister and Bufumbira South MP Sam Bitangaro has been remanded to Luzira prison for obtaining money by false pretense and conspiracy to defraud.

Bitangaro, together with lawyer Francis Owor Onyango, William Tumwine, an official from the Ministry of Gender and his wife Stella Kakuba were charged with seven counts emanating from a land deal between them and Kiboga Twegatte Cooperative Society Limited.

The group reportedly obtained up to 3 billion Shillings to avail land for resettlement of the cooperative society after their eviction from Luwunga central government reserve in Kiboga district in 2013. The payment was provided by the Ugandan government and Oxfam international, through the National Forestry Authority.

But later, the land, measuring up to 19 square miles in Bukompe village, Kassanda district, was claimed by businessman Abid Alam. Controversy ensued when Alam sent graders to open access roads in the area and destroyed all properties within.

During the just-concluded commission of inquiry into land matters, Abid Alam, also the proprietor of Mityana Farm Enterprises said that he had paid more than 200 million shillings to secure the land in question. He added that he bought the land from Sam Bitangaro, Andrew Rugasira, Abasi Kajoba Mawanda, and one Dr Mbonye.

The matter was then taken up the State House anti-corruption Unit, headed by Lt Col Edith Nakalema. Bitangaro was arrested and arraigned before Grade II magistrate John Okiipi in Makindye and subsequently remanded without taking a plea. They will return to court on January 6.

However, their lawyer Julius Galisonga expressed dismay at the manner in which the case was handled. He told URN that the day’s events were rushed in order to deny his clients an opportunity to make their case.

“We reach there, and they tell us that administratively beyond reading charges, they cannot make a plea, and that is very irregular” Galisonga told URN on phone.



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