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Minister Onek, Basajjabalaba Snub Land Probe

Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, the Chairperson of the Land probe summoned Onek last week, to appear before the commission today in relation to threats and insults he reportedly hauled at Steven Irumba, the former Tooro Kingdom Premier.
Justice Catherine Bamugemereire issued summoned to Minister Hilary Onek.

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Eng. Hilary Onek, the Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees has snubbed summons by the Land Probe saying he is travelling to India for treatment.

 Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, the Chairperson of the Land probe summoned Onek last week, to appear before the commission today in relation to threats and insults he reportedly hauled at Steven Irumba, the former Tooro Kingdom Premier.

Irumba earlier on appeared before the committee and testified about a verbal attack from Onek in which he allegedly described him as a rogue, an enemy of the government and stupid.

According to Irumba, the attack followed a telephone call he made to Onek seeking an explanation for the abrupt withdrawal of security guards assigned to him following threats on his life and family over the land dispute pitting him against the Office of the Prime Minister.

Irumba has been battling the government over the ownership of a piece of land measuring about 200 acres in Rwentuha Sub County, Kyegegwa district.  The disputed land neighbours' Kyaka I Refugee Settlement, where more than 100 families were resettled by the Ministry of Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees.

He says that the government grabbed part of his 500 acres of land and turned it into a refugee settlement area.  Early this year, government surveyors indicated that Irumba's land is located within the area which was gazetted as a refugee settlement in 1964 and recommended that Irumba surrenders part of the land to the government.

Amid the controversy, Irumba's farm was raided severally by unknown personnel. In one of the attacks, 100 head of Sahiwal cows imported from Pakistan were killed and others were stolen. The attackers had also circulated information that they would kill him.

He was then assigned a team of police guards, while another team pitched camp at the farm to guarantee his safety.  However, these were recently withdrawn with Benon Byamukama, the Kyegegwa District Police Commander, saying he had received a directive from the Office of the Prime Minister to withdraw the police officers.

According to an audio recording presented to the Land Probe, Onek told Irumba to find his own security since he chose to petition the Land Probe instead of resolving the dispute with the government. 

After listening to the audio recording, Justice Bamugemereire issued summons to Onek to appear today to explain his statements saying that it was very sad for a Minister to pour water on the very institution that was set up by the President.

However, addressing Journalists today, the Land Probe Lead Counsel Ebert Byenkya said that Onek had written to them in July 13, 2018, a letter noting receipt of the summons. According to Byenkya, Onek said that he was unable to appear before the Land Probe since he was already scheduled to travel to India for treatment.

 

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In a related matter, Businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba also skipped the Land Probe's summons saying that he had travelled out of the country. Basajjabalaba had been summoned in relation to the acquisition of illegal land titles in Luzira wetlands, Nakawa Division.

The Land Probe learnt that several applicants for land titles in the wetlands were fronts of businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba. They included Irunga Asuman, Silaje Tumwine Tumusiime, Azida Nantege, Kerren Kalemera, Aisha Mulungi, and Irene Kwera. Another group comprising Nalubega Barbara, Kanabi Bob, Augustine Lutaganda, and Trusnet were fronts of businessman Ephraim Ntaganda.

 

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Justice Bamugemereire directed fresh summons to be issued to Onek and Basajjabalaba.

 

//Cue in: "please ensure that...

Cue out:...Mr. Hassan Basajjabalaba."//

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