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Lands secretary faces arrest for contempt of parliament

Ssenyonyi heads committee

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The interdicted Uganda Land Commission – ULC Secretary, Barbara Imaryo is in trouble for contempt of parliament. The Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authority and State Enterprises – COSASE has issued an arrest warrant for Imaryo because of her failure to appear on Tuesday to respond to audit queries.

In his letter to the Police Division at Parliament, the Committee Chairperson Joel Ssenyonyi, who also doubles as the Nakawa West Division MP implicates Imaryo for contempt of Parliament contrary to 208 of the Rules of Procedure of Parliament of Uganda. He directs the police to arrest Imaryo and produce her before COSASE at 10:00 am on Thursday, May 19th 2022.

Imaryo is specifically wanted to explain the irregularities relating to the payment of Shillings 10.6 billion to six claimants without the authorization of the Commission. Other issues raised by the MPs relate to the double payment of untraceable claimants.

Prof Jack Nyeko Pen-Mogi, the Acting Chairperson of the Commission revealed to the Committee that they faced a similar problem with Imaryo early this year when she disregarded their request for accountability documents after the Inspectorate of Government commenced investigations into the commission activities.

The ULC officials were appearing before COSASE for the 5th time in an ongoing inquiry relating to scandals highlighted by the Auditor General’s report for FY 2020/2021, which Imaryo has never been part of despite being invited.

During the hearing, Charles K. Muhoozi, a Land Commissioner told the Committee that Imaryo defied their recommendation and paid the questionable claimants. He was appearing together with the Acting ULC Chairperson Prof Jack Nyeko Pen-Mogi, Stella Acan, David Mugulusi, Andrew Nyumba, Rukika Bujara, Haji Asuman Kyafu and Beatrice Byenkya Nyakaisiki.

In January this year, the Minister of Lands suspended the Commission chairperson Beatrice Byenkya together with Imaryo to pave the way for investigations into allegations of power struggles, mismanagement and abuse of office at ULC.

Section 49 of the Land Act, Cap 227 mandates the Commission to hold and manage any land in Uganda which is vested in or acquired by the Government. Under der Article 164 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995 (as amended) and Section 45 of the Public Finance Management Act, 2015, the Accounting Officer is accountable to Parliament for the funds and resources of the Commission.

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