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Muhanga Attacks Parliament Over UBC Land Probe

MP Margaret Muhanga accuses fellow legislators of overstepping their mandate saying that no one, not even the Auditor General has powers to inquire into a matter that had been adjudicated upon by the Supreme Court.
Burahya County MP Margaret Muhanga appearing before parliament's committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises on Tuesday.

Audio 3

Burahya County Member of Parliament Margaret Muhanga has criticized fellow legislators who questioned a deal in which she is accused of fraud and disobeying court orders in executing a land transaction.

This comes a day after the MP said she sold goats and cows on top of borrowing from relatives to buy 23.1 acres of land from Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) at a cost of 10.2 billion Shillings.

The land in question is located in Bugolobi, a suburb of Kampala.

Muhanga accused the legislators of overstepping their mandate saying that no one, not even the Auditor General has powers to inquire into a matter that had been adjudicated upon by the Supreme Court.

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Muhanga told journalists that any attempt by parliament to query into the UBC land transaction would offend the principle of separation of powers between the three arms of government.

“You mean parliament can overturn a Supreme Court ruling? I don't know, just educate me,” Muhanga said.

Muhanga, who is also a member of the committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) was on Tuesday put to task to explain how she acquired land from UBC a public entity.

The land had been originally leased out by UBC to HABA group, an entity owned by city businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba at a cost of 11.4 billion shillings.

HABA group had sold the land to Deo and Sons Company Limited. But High Court ruled that the transaction was illegal and ordered that the land title reverts to UBC. 

Haba group appealed the ruling and entered into a consent judgement for UBC to refund the 11.4 billion shillings it had paid for the land within 60 days.

UBC board chairman Simon Kaheru told the committee that HABA group sold the land to Margaret Muhanga before the 60 days elapsed.

However, Muhanga's submissions to the committee that she sold personal property to raise the money sparked debate in the public and especially on social media.

Muhanga now says that it's sad people have chosen to take the bit on cows and goats yet she also borrowed heavily from relatives.

“I also sold some of my properties including land. I paid 102 million shillings in stamp duty in the process. But no one is speaking about this,” Muhanga said.

However, Kisoro district Woman MP Rose Kabagyenyi, a COSASE committee member, said that parliament's committee had all the mandate to probe Muhanga given that she is a committee member and did not come out clearly earlier before the probe happened.

She added that the committee is handling the Auditor General's report which was sent to it for inquiry.

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