By Priscillar Nyamahunge
Pastoralists who were wrongfully evicted from Buliisa have refuted allegations being made by Mukasa-Lugalambi advocates and solicitors, a law firm in Kampala that the government paid compensation money to a different law firm which did not represent the aggrieved.
About 168 pastoralists were evicted from Bugana in Buliisa district in 2010, an act that compelled them to file a civil suit against Gen. David Tinyefuza who headed the operation, the Attorney General and one other.
Headed by Grace Bamurangye Bororoza, the pastoralists formed a group called “Aberwanaho Buliisa Development Group.”
Represented by Mukasa-Lugalambi advocates and solicitors, the then Masindi High Court judge Ralph W. Ochan ruled in the pastoralists’ favor in 2013 and a compensation of over Shs300 million was to be paid to all the affected families.
Speaking to our over the weekend, Bororoza said that Lugalambi was in charge of following up the compensation money.
Bororoza explained that, in August 2016, she went to the Ministry of Justice to remind them of their pledge, only to be told that an amount of Shs191 million had been paid to Lugalambi in May the same year. A copy of the Electronic Fund transfer attained by our reporter clearly indicates the amount received.
Bororoza and the group searched for another legal representative and finally settled on Hussein Kashillingi Rugaba, of Kashillingi, Rugaba and Associates, whom the group officially presented to the Justice ministry as their new lawyer and terminated the services of Lugalambi.
She said that, many attempts to get the money from Lugalambi were futile.
In November last year, the ministry paid more Shs50m through Kashillingi and Bororoza said the money was delivered to the affected people.
However, on Tuesday last week, New Vision published a story titled, “AG sued over pastoralists compensation,” in which Lugalambi alleged that the Attorney General paid a wrong law firm which did not represent the affected people.
Boroza however states that: “Lugalambi is now coming up with excuses to find ways of diverting us and fail to clear our money. He has been conspiring with some two affected people to steal that money but we are aware of all his tricks.”
On February 10th, this year, Bororoza said that a group of 80 pastoralists camped at Lugalambi’s offices in Kampala and caused his arrest after the Uganda Law Council, where the group had sought help, ordered him to pay the money.
Lugalambi was released on police bond on February 13th after making an agreement that he would pay the amount in question by March 6th, this year, an agreement that has been seen by our reporter.
Lugalambi offered Shs8m as transport refund to the 80 people who had come from Buliisa, with an initial deposit of Shs5.8m, promising to clear the transport balance by February 14th. In the agreement, he clearly stated that, the transport refund wasn’t part of the Shs191m he owes them.
Bororoza said: “If he does not pay the money by March 6th, we shall take him back to Police and impose and interest on the money he is holding.”