19 April 2018

Uganda: Lawyers Named in Shs16b Land Scam

Kampala — Lawyers have been accused before the Commission of Inquiry into land matters of fraudulently acquiring more than Shs16 billion meant to compensate 20 claimants from the land fund under Uganda Land Commission (ULC).

It is alleged that lawyers under Frank Tumusiime and Company Advocates, while purporting to hold letters of attorney for their clients in connivance with senior government officials at ULC, processed and received billions of shillings.

Appearing before the land probe yesterday, Mr Richard Buzibira, an associate lawyer of the law firm, was quizzed over his involvement in the questionable dealings, failure to act professionally, conspiracy and other criminal acts.

Mr Buzibira admitted that some of the clients instructed him through his law firm while others contacted him personally to handle all the processes on their behalf.

"We began receiving instructions for land fund in 2013 and I acted as an agent and advocate. The clients came on referral basing on the number of cases I had handled. The money was paid quarterly in instalments and the vouchers show that Shs13.3b has since been paid and balances in the range of Shs5b is still pending," Mr Buzibira testified.

It is alleged that Mr Buzibira' s clients presented titles for land where they are registered as administrators having acquired letters of administration from Hoima Chief Magistrates' Court, which had no jurisdiction to handle transactions worth Shs100m and above.

Documents before the commission show that ULC is making payments in names of people who are already dead and in other instances, money was collected by different people.

The land fund was established under Section 41 of the Land Act to bring to an end land conflicts in Bunyoro.

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