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Wednesday, 8 July 2015

For the devil and my stomach : Trials and tribulations of the poor peasants in Uganda: Tears, anger as pensioners testify: UPDF land grabbers plotting my downfall, says Nantaba


Tears, anger as pensioners testify

L-R Salvatory Obura Ogwal, Geoffrey Posiano Odida, David Muloki and Jimmy Busuulwa present their grievancies while appearing before the Public Accounts Commitee of Parliament about the pension scam. PHOTO BY FAISWAL KASIRYE 
By Yasiin Mugerwa

Posted  Wednesday, July 8  2015 at  01:00
In Summary
Painful. Pensioners tell MPs how they discovered that their money had been stolen. 

PARLIAMENT. MPs investigating the pension scam witnessed some emotion as pensioners whose money was stolen narrated how their photos were used to “siphon” more than Shs165 billion.
The former employees of the East African Community that collapsed in 1977 nearly broke down as they came face–to–face with officials from Bank of Uganda and Cairo International Bank, whom MPs accuse of abetting the fraud that took place in the Ministry of Public Service.

Silence gripped the committee room when the Public Accounts Committee chairperson, Ms Alice Alaso, asked Mr Darwish Osama, the executive director Cairo International Bank, to look into the eyes of “the miserable pensioners” whom she said have endured years of agony because of the fraud.

“I sympathise with them. They are victims of a big conspiracy started by individuals in the Ministry of Public Service, the association of the former EAC employees and individuals working in Cairo Bank. I don’t deny this,” Mr Osama said: “The scam was a big lesson to us and the bank has removed the people involved, improved security and put in place in place internal commitment control systems.”

Five senior citizens Obura Ogwal, Godfrey Odida, David Muloki, Jimmy Busulwa and Mr Abdallah Tebaabe, appeared before PAC where they recounted how “thieves” played with their money.
“For 22 years I have been on the street and you can’t imagine the misery I have gone through without getting my pension,” Mr Odida said. “Some of us joined the Community in 1961, worked devotedly and never went anywhere. Today, I am a miserable man, I live on my children’s mercy. It is a painful thing.”

Mr Ogwal said in 2010 he submitted his documents to the Ministry of Public Service for payment of Shs75 million but nothing came through. “I went to Public Service and they told me the [former] Commissioner for Pensions, Mr Kiwanuka Kunsa had stopped any payments to former EAC workers because we were paid,” Mr Ogwal said.

Mr Odida told the committee that Shs81 million was paid to a one Ludovico Losonto under whose name was his picture yet the names, the bank account and the rest of the details were not his. Mr Busulwa’s photo was given to Hanington Basajja Kambwe and was paid Shs75m and Mr Tibaabe’s photo was given to a one Andrew from Mpigi yet he is from Mukono District.

The committee also heard that Mr Muloki’s photo was labelled under John Sabit Cosmas who accessed Shs89 million from Cairo Bank. However, Mr Muloki said: “I have never opened an account in Cairo Bank, my account is in Housing Finance Bank.”

Mr Odida requested Ms Alaso to allow the Cairo Bank lawyer, Mr Enos Tumusiime, who was their boss at Uganda Railways Corporation, to tell the committee how he feels about their misery. Mr Tumusiime said he feels very bad, but explained that he left in 1996 and that all employees were getting their pension at the time.
Deputy Governor, Mr Louis Kasekende and the director, commercial banking, Mr Benedict Sekabira came under pressure to explain what the MPs called the bank’s failure to supervise Cairo Bank. Mr Sekabira told the committee that they inspected CIB, raised the red flags and removed the CIB board of directors before the pension scam. Mr Osama said some staff at the bank fear to come and testify for fear of being killed by “the thieves”.

UPDF land grabbers plotting my downfall, says Nantaba

Lands state minister Aidah Nantaba. FILE PHOTO  

Posted  Wednesday, July 8  2015 at  01:00 
Kayunga. Lands state minister Aidah Nantaba has said some wealthy people, including high-ranking Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) officers, involved in illegal land evictions across the country are plotting her political downfall in next year’s elections.
Without giving names, the minister claimed the generals are plotting to sponsor her political opponents in the forthcoming parliamentary elections.

“Because I have frustrated their plan of grabbing your land, they have now resolved to do whatever they can so that I don’t return to Parliament. They have already started dishing out money to whoever wants to stand against me, but I am not shaken,” Ms Nantaba, who is also the Kayunga Woman MP, said.
She added: “Despite the suffering I am going through including attaching my salary, I will not relent, but what I need is your support.”

The minister was speaking during a consultative meeting in Kitimbwa Trading Centre, Wabwoko Sub-county, Kayunga District, at the weekend.
When contacted, UPDF spokesperson Paddy Ankunda said he was not aware of any UPDF officer involved in acts of land grabbing in Kayunga.

“But if it is true any general is involved in such acts, it’s unacceptable because these officers should follow the law in acquiring land. However, they have a right to own land,” Col Ankunda said. He also urged the minister to produce a report over the matter.
Ms Nantaba, who has been in Parliament for only one term, rose to fame recently after being appointed minister, a position she has used to champion the fight against illegal land evictions in central region.
However, this came at a cost with several land lords suing her for alleged illegal cancellation of their land titles and giving out their land to tenants. Early this year, the High Court in Kampala attached her salary over a Shs23.7 million debt.

The money arose out of court costs awarded to Mr Abbey Kiberu last November by Judge Alphonse Owiny-Dollo. This followed Mr Kiberu’s successful petition to quash Ms Nantaba’s orders to give away his 38-acre piece of land in Wasozi Kitende Village, Wakiso District, to another family.

Nantaba Blames Peter Nyombi For Her Shs18,000 Monthly Earnings

March 13, 2015 

Hon Peter Nyombi was dropped as Attorney General last week in what seemed to mark his downfall. However, the State Minister for Lands Hon. Aidah Nantaba lands state minister Aidah Nantaba seems to be closely following him.

She will be taking home Shs 18,000 starting this month after the Parliament Commission deducted sh7m off her monthly salary to clear a sh23.7m debt.

 State Minister for Lands Hon. Aidah Nantaba

Nantaba  blames Nyombi for her woes, whom she accuses of being vindictive because he is one of the ‘big landlords’ that are victims of her pro-poor campaign.

In an interview with Bukedde, Nantaba explains that Nyombi was given instructions by the Prime Minister to represent her in court but he refused.

“It is unfair,” she stated.  “They are going to chop my salary, the salary of an individual, yet whatever I used to do was government work.”
“He knew very well that my committee was set up by the President and our work resulted from a decision taken by Cabinet. Our work was government work. But he refused maliciously.” she added.

She alleges that the malice arose from one of her work commitments in 2013, where she blocked Nyombi from evicting tenants
from five villages in Mubende district. Nantaba feels Nyombi in return decided to use his office to bring her down “yet he was supposed to give me legal representation as the Attorney General”.

Nantaba’s woes arose from court costs awarded to a one Abby Kasolo Kiberu, who sued the minister for giving away his 38.09-acre piece of land in Wasozi Kitende Village in Wakiso district to another family.


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