By our reporter
The Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters is under intense scrutiny after being tasked by Members of Parliament to give accountability of shs13 billion and an interim report regarding their previous work.
The seven member commission led by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire was appointed by President Yoweri Museveni in December, 2016 but started work in May 2017 and has been moving around the country probing into several land wrangles.
The Physical Infrastructure Committee chaired by George Nsamba (Bbale County) revealed that they cannot approve more funds when they are not sure whether the previous funds were put into proper use.
“Before we approve any further requests, can the Lands Minister first provide the actual expenditures by the Commission as at the end of the third quarter (2017/18) and also table the projected total budgetary requirements of the Commission till the conclusion of its assignment?” inquired Nsamba.
Bukomansimbi MP Veronica Nanyondo said the Commission’s good work cannot “insulate them from providing accountability of funds they received. How shall we know if the funds were put to good use?”
The MPs’ move comes at the time when the Finance Ministry officials have agreed to release more shs2 billion for the commission to wind up its investigations.
The Finance Ministry’s decision to release more funds was reached after Justice Bamugemereire team complained that their time was running out and the Lands Ministry was reluctant to add them more money.
Lands Minister Betty Amongi recently told Parliament that a budget allocation to the commission for the financial year 2017/18 was shs15 billion or which shs12.9 billion has so far been spent.
Apparently, due to an extension of its timeframe, the commission further requested for an additional budget of shs7.8 billion, which the Lands Ministry has already requested the Finance Ministry to provide, through a supplementary budget.