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Commission Grills Kasaija Over Failure to Operationalize Land Fund :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Commission Grills Kasaija Over Failure to Operationalize Land Fund

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Kasaija said he didnt know that the Land Fund needs a special account, saying the Accountant General Lawrence Ssemakula should be in position to explain the continued remittance of compensation money to Uganda Land Commission.
Finance Minister Matia Kasaija with John Bosco Suuza, the Deputy Lead Counsel of the Land Probe.

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The Justice Catherine Bamugemereire Land Commission has grilled Finance Minister, Matia Kasaija over his failure to operationalize the land fund more than 20- since it was planned.

The fund is a multi-purpose resource envelope meant to serve targeted beneficiaries, including tenants seeking to buy or own land, government seeking to buy land for redistribution to bonafide occupants or resettlement of the landless among others. It was supposed to be functional within one year after the enactment of the Land Act in 1998.

While appearing before the Land Probe last week, the Lands Minister, Betty Amongi shocked the Commissioners when she said Uganda doesn't have a functional Land Fund. Instead the money for compensating land owners is channeled through Vote 156 of the Uganda Land Commission. 

On Thursday, John Bosco Suuza, the Deputy Lead Counsel of the Bamugemereire Land Commission tasked Kasaija to explain why he has failed to set up a special account for the Land Fund as required by the Law and continues sending compensation money to Uganda Land Commission.

Suuza said that the absence of a special account for the Land Fund and full time employees of the Fund is being used to defraud government huge sums of money through bogus compensations.

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In his response, Kasaija said he didn't know that the Land Fund needs a special account, saying the Accountant General Lawrence Ssemakula should be in position to explain the continued remittance of compensation money to Uganda Land Commission.

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Suuza further tasked the Minister to explain some directives from the Finance Ministry to Uganda Land Commission to compensate specific people whenever money is availed. 

He cited a letter in which Patrick Ocailap, the Deputy Secretary to the Treasury directed the Commission to pay Robert Mwesigwa, the Chairman of the National Resistance Movement-NRM party Entrepreneur's League yet he didn't own the land for which the compensation was being made.

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Kasaija described Ocailap's letter as irregular, saying the Ministry does not handle compensations.

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Kasaija revealed to the Commission the Finance Ministry has disbursed up to Shillings 158 billion to Uganda Land Commission since 2008 to cater for land compensation. Suuza told Kasaija that government could have paid out much less if the right people were being paid. 

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