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Amongi Grilled Over Micromanagement of Land Fund :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Amongi Grilled Over Micromanagement of Land Fund

Documents before the Commission show that on November 23rd, 2016, Amongi asked Mugumya to urgently pay out compensation of Shillings 620 million to nine people. Amongi also asked Mugumya in an October 31st, 2016 letter to pay special consideration to two patients.
Lands Minister Betty Amongi appearing before the Land Inquiry Commission chaired by justice Catherine Bamugemereire.

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The Lands, Housing and Urban Development Minister, Betty Amongi came under fire from the Justice Catherine Bamugemereire Land Commission on Wednesday for allegedly micromanaging the Land Fund.

The Commission accused the minister of impropriety basing on the documents indicating that she was directly involved in authorising payments and another complaint from the Junior Lands Minister, Persis Namuganza accusing the minister of overstepping her mandate.

It is alleged that in 2016, Amongi directed Albert Jethro Mugumya, the Under Secretary Uganda Land Commission to effect payment of Millions of Shillings to different beneficiaries from the Land Fund contrary to her mandate.  

While appearing before the Commission earlier, Mugumya admitted that Amongi directed him to pay several people under 'special requests'. He declined to explain the "special requests" but admitted that the minister's involvement amounted to micro- management of the Land Fund contrary to her mandate and established procedure.

Documents before the Commission show that on November 23rd, 2016, Amongi asked Mugumya to urgently pay out compensation of Shillings 620 million to nine people. Amongi also asked Mugumya in an October 31st, 2016 letter to pay special consideration to two patients.

In her letter, Amongi directed Mugumya to give Victoria Kakoko-Sebagereka an advance payment of Shillings 100 million as part of the Shillings 776.7 million claim on account that the recipient was very sick and needed treatment abroad. She also directed Mugumya to pay another Shillings 50 million of the Shillings 210 million claim to Kuriash Barinda of Isingiro district.

The Commission also received a copy of the letter from the State Minister for Lands, Persis Namuganza, accusing Amongi of usurping her powers of implementing the government plan to compensate land owners. In her January 6th, 2017 letter, Namuganza accused her senior of taking several decisions without involving her despite being the sector minister.

"Hon. Minister, you awarded yourself unfettered discretion in management of the Land Fund, which is contrary to good ethos as in regard to teamwork and contrary to good principles of public administration," Namuganza's letter to Amongi reads in part.

The Commission Lead Counsel, Ebert Byenkya tasked Amongi to explain her actions, saying the micromanagement of the Land fund has triggered tension in her Ministry and Uganda Land Commission.

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Amongi explained that they came up with guidelines, which led to the establishment of a Land Fund Committee whose role is to among others asses the list of people who have surrendered their land to government. She also said they established another Ministerial Committee comprised of ministers to determine those to be paid.

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She also explained that the discontent by her junior went to several places including cabinet, which guided them on how to proceed with their work.

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Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, the Commission Chairperson put it to Amongi that apparently the view in the Uganda Land Commission is that she has too much powers.

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Amongi insisted that everything was agreed upon in the policy guidelines that were determined by top management in her ministry and Commissioners in Uganda Land Commission. 

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Bamugemereire said that there is a complete misunderstanding of the Uganda Land Commission and its mandate.

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