M7 VOWS TO JAIL KASAIJJA, MUHAKANIZI FOR WRONGLY PAYING OUT 86BN LUFULA COMPENSATION TO BASAJA
By Isaac Wandubile
Over the weekend, President Museveni summoned a group of Ministers led by Finance Minister Matia Kasaijja and PSST Keith Muhakanizi and furiously rebuked them for curiously agreeing and proceeding to pay out a whopping Shs86bn to controversial Kampala tycoon Hassan Basajjabalaba even after he had clearly vetoed such compensation.
Mulengera News understands that the duo drove to Kyankwanzi at the invitation of the graceful big man from Rwakitura and on appearing before him, he showed exhibited extreme anger to the levels Matia Kasaijja, who has closely known him since their Fronasa days in the 1970s, says he hadn’t seen before. “Mzee was in such a furious mood to the extent that the two Finance Ministry bosses were shaking like a leaf by the time they left the meeting venue,” says a source familiar with the matter. It was admitted to the H.E. that the KIU tycoon had days earlier received a payment of Shs17bn.
“He told them he doesn’t want to hear any excuses and that all he wants is for them to personally refund that money and he gave them only two weeks,” added the source. The same Presidency source says the man from Rwakitura has for years been very clear about his objection to the claimed compensation Basajjabalaba has been pursuing for years over his failure or inability to do any business in the Port Bell Road-based Lufula/city abattoir. The same was contracted to him by the old pre-Erias Lukwago KCC. He failed largely because the Lord Mayor and other elected leaders at City Hall put their foot on the ground, a thing that emboldened ordinary Lufula vendors to successfully stand up to Basajjabalaba whose plan was to redevelop the thing into a modern slaughter house.
Having failed to conduct any meaningful redevelopment business because of traders and vendors’ hostility, Basajjabalaba (whose funding requests were thwarted by banks having perceived the project as risky) wrote it off as a bad business venture and resorted to pursuing and claiming compensation from the AG/GoU just like was the case with the Owino and Nakasero markets compensation claims which, in the early 2010s, were investigated by the 9th Parliament resulting into the dramatic impeachment of Ministers Kiddu Makubuya (then AG) and Syda Bumba Namirembe who preceded Matia Kasaijja as the Finance Minister.
When it came to Lufula, information reached Gen Museveni some few years ago that officials at the Attorney General’s chambers and Finance Ministry were on the verge of paying the Shs90bn compensation Basajjabalaba was claiming for Lufula and other city abattoirs which the pre-Lukwago City Hall had leased out or tendered to him, he became very furious and called meetings which resulted into some key political actors being dropped from their juicy positions.
The President also summoned Basajjabalaba and assured him of readiness to send him to Luzira if he didn’t forget about Lufula and abandon that claim for compensation. “Mr. Basajjabalaba I want to assure you this time I’m not going to spare you. You have caused me many political problems in the past because of those compensation claims of yours and on this one, if you don’t stop disturbing government officials, I will lock you up in Luzira,” sources quote Museveni as cautioning Basajjabalaba some time back before proceeding to sanction leaders at the AG and Finance Ministry who had been involved in trying to help him to legitimize and access the Shs90bn he was claiming in compensation.
The President is angry that despite all these clear efforts by him to block this payment, the Finance Ministry officials (fully aware of his objections) could go ahead to process Basajjabalaba’s compensation claim and had the same paid out without seeking his consent as the head of state and head of NRM which will ultimately endure the resultant bad publicity and demonization once the payment leaks and gets scandalized by the media. He assured the duo at the Saturday meeting at Kyankwanzi that the only way they can escape his wrath or even detention in Luzira is by quickly finding the money and refunding it. He asserted that they don’t deserve any praise simply because they negotiated and pushed Basajjabalaba’s claim from the original Shs90bn to Shs86bn.
The President also demanded to know how the Shs86bn was arrived at without involving the Chief Government Valuer. He was also curious about the exclusion of the Solicitor General though Mulengera News now understands that the two officials (SG and CGV) kept their distance after knowing that the H.E. intended to jail whoever ever gets involved into that Basajjabalaba compensation. At the Saturday meeting in Kyankwanzi, a fire-breathing Museveni went as far as demanding that the duo explains how the Shs86bn was arrived at.
“He gave them a pen and piece of paper and demanded that they take him through how it was arrived at and when they failed, he started rebuking them before walking out. He told them he was actually opposed to compensating Basajjabalaba any money because in his view, that man has over the years made a lot of money off the Ugandan taxpayer. He told them there is no way the tycoon can deserve more than Shs3bn because his information is that there isn’t much cost that he incurred. He also wondered where and how they can easily find the Shs86bn for HB yet each time he proposes funding something, they like saying sir there is nowhere we can find that money. He wondered they can dish so much money to one individual when the rest of the population are barely surviving. He assured them Ugandans will curse you and your children’s children,” says a credible source within the Presidency.
That at some point, Gen Museveni became so furious and walked out of the meeting only to return waving his hands while saying “kale muswaza ate mujooga [you can really ashame]; the people of Uganda can never forgive you about this sacrilege. All I want is the money and don’t bother telling me any stories.”
The big man from Rwakitura asserted that the people of Uganda will be very angry on learning about this latest scandal “and I can’t blame them because this naturally should anger anyone.” Sources say that whereas Matia Kasaija has since resorted to publicly claiming there are many thieves and corrupt people in the Finance Ministry, Keith Muhakanizi’s health deteriorated and hasn’t been well since Saturday. That even after the meeting, the President later on rang Muhakanizi right from his Kyankwanzi conclave and assured him “to prepare for the worst unless you people recover that money and bring it back to the government treasury.”
As early as Monday this week, the processes commenced to recover the money back to the GoU coffers, as directed by the President, but by the time efforts to freeze the relevant bank accounts to which the cash had been transferred took effect, the tycoon had withdrawn/transferred much of it and only Shs8bn was remaining. And it’s that which has been frozen as the duo and their other accomplices sweat to find the remainder because the man from Rwakitura wants back everything up to the last penny. (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994, 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us at email@example.com).