17 February 2013

Uganda: Lukwago Now Begs IGG to Probe Musisi

Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago wants the Inspector General of Government to investigate Executive Director Jennifer Musisi over dealings with the Chinese firm Foton East Africa.

Foton is a garbage truck and bus importer. Lukwago has written to the IGG alleging abuse of office, the petition comes hot on the heels of claims that the lord mayor obtained money and other material perks from Foton in exchange for helping them to construct a motor vehicle showroom on Nile avenue in Kampala. Lukwago was reportedly facilitated by Foton to travel to China in 2012 where he allegedly assured the company executives that he would use his authority to support Foton's business in Kampala.

Foton allegedly paid air tickets, hotel accommodation and generous allowances for Lukwago's political and business associates including Deputy Lord Mayor Sulaiman Kidandala, Councillor Allan Sewanyana and Sarah Kanyike. But Lukwago now wants the IGG, Justice Irene Mulyagonja, to investigate how Musisi authorized KCCA to issue a permit to one Geoffrey Rugazoora on behalf of Foton East Africa to construct a structure along plot 42 Nile avenue, well knowing that the said land was part of a road reserve.

Musisi later demolished the structure last year, leaving the investors ruing the loss.

"This is a clear case of abuse of office which should be investigated by your office which should be brought to book," Lukwago says, in the letter to the IGG, copied to the Minister for Kampala and the Inspector General of Police, the Executive Director, the five division mayors, councillors, all directors and Clerk to Authority.

Lukwago admits that he was introduced to Foton by Minister Muruuli Mukasa, before the Chinese firm offered them air tickets to Beijing with his team. His team also included Michael Niwagaba aka Toyota, who is President Museveni's younger brother and was in Beijing to represent Muruuli Mukasa.

"I was never given any money or any kind of inducement but the Beijing Mayor had accepted to pay a return visit [to Kampala]," Lukwago said.

Before KCCA demolished the structure, Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi wrote to Musisi on September 6, 2012 asking her to allow Foton to complete a temporary structure and operate there for one year before relocating.

"Following our discussion with you yesterday in my office, it was inter alia agreed that, bearing in mind the advanced stages of the construction and the likely negative impact the demolition would have on investor confidence; the investor should be allowed to complete the structure," Ssekandi wrote.

When contacted, KCCA spokesman Peter Kaujju said permission was given to Rugazoora and not Foton and it was not meant to construct in a road reserve. But documents seen by The Observer show KCCA's acting Director for Physical Planning, Joseph Ssemambo, responding to Foton's request to encroach on the road reserve while constructing the said structure.

Ssemambo reportedly allowed Foton 12 of the 15 metres of the road reserve they had asked for. An official in the IGG's office said he was aware of Lukwago's petition.

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