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Gen. Kayihura’s ex-aide tasked to renegotiate land ownership

Ambrose Wekesa Murunga (Middle) Shares A Moment With His Laywer (L) and Commission Lawyer Ebert Byenka (R)

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT |  Ambrose Murunga, a Kenyan ex-aide of former Inspector General of Uganda Police Force Gen. Kale Kayihura has been told to renegotiate the terms of ownership of the land, which was allegedly stolen from bonafide Ugandan owners.

The directive was made this afternoon by the Commission of Inquiry into land matters which ruled that Murunga is illegally owning the land. It is based on the account that foreigners are forbidden from acquiring Customary, Mailo and Freehold land tenure in Uganda.   

This after Murunga told the Commission on Wednesday afternoon that he is holding titles to more than Four large swathes of Mailo land he acquired at various times in Uganda.  He said he secured the properties while working as technical advisor to the Uganda Police Force, the Ministry of Defense and later as an aide to Gen. Kale Kayihura between 2005 and 2013 before his consultancy contract was terminated.   

Murunga who introduced himself as a Nairobi based farmer told the Commission that he was misadvised by lawyers to register the lands in his names. He claims that most of the deals were negotiated by lawyers who very well knew his citizenship status and families.

When probed by the Commission to reveal whether he used the influence of his office and the powerful connections he had with security to acquire the properties, Murunga said most of the deals were negotiated by lawyers on his instructions.

Murunga was appearing before the Lady Justice Catherine Bamugemereire led Commission to answer to accusations of defrauding Margaret Mary Meri, a Primary School teacher in Kajjansi of her land and house she inherited from her husband following a divorce.    

Margaret Mary Meri had earlier told the Commission that Murunga exploited her loan distress with a Chinese money lender to compel her to sign transfer agreements for the property at 186 million Shillings, down from 200 million Shillings, under duress.     

She told the Commission that Murunga and unnamed accomplices used security operatives dressed in plain clothes to abduct, torture and coerce her into the deal. After detecting foul play, Meri Mary placed a caveat over her property to prevent its transfer.

But Murunga said he has never been armed or provided armed escorts during his service with the Ministry of Defense of Uganda.   He also dismissed accusations of being armed while negotiating land transactions in Luweero and other areas.

Commission chairperson Justice Catherine Bamugemereire tasked Murunga to renegotiate the titles he holds over Mailo land to prevent them from being forcefully recovered.    

During the public hearing held at the National Archives Center in Kampala, Murunga said he will avail the Commission details of all his land in Uganda. It also emerged that he still owes Margaret Mary Meri a sum of 11 million Shillings.         

Who is Ambrose Wekesa Murunga?    

Kenyan media reports that Ambrose Wekesa Murunga worked as a Newspaper Columnist before coming to consult with Ugandan security forces, Ministry of Defense and the Uganda Police Force (UPF) as Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Consultant.    

Murunga claims to possess a Bachelor’s degree in Law obtained from South Africa. It is unclear how he started consulting for the Uganda Police Force as an aide of Inspector General Kale Kayihura.      

At this position, we commanded several operations and advised Police on investigations, deployment as well as cases to drop or refer to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions for trial.     

In 2013, Murunga was accused of evicting over 100 Bibanja holders in Luwero from their land. The Land Commission later discovered that he held titles for 255 acres of Mailo land he claimed to have purchased from what appears to be a ghost seller in the names of Rose Nalutaaya since her details could not be availed to the Commission.

It is also believed that Murunga used his connections and connivance with Ministry of Land officials in Kampala to acquire titles for plots 26, 31, 32 and 36 on block 726 in Gayaza, Bulemeezi in Luweero measuring 255 acres.  He claimed to have purchased the land at 132 million Shillings.   

Gen Kale Kayihura told the same Land Commission of Inquiry that he worked with Murunga before the Commission tasked him to investigate him after Murunga’s contract had been terminated. He later said he didn’t “want controversial things around him.”

According to Kayihura, Murunga was introduced to him by former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of defence, the late Brigadier Noble Mayombo and former New Vision Editor if Chief Els De Temmerman.

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