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MP Rukaari Accused Of Defrauding Shs 10 Billion In Another Shady Land Deal

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Mwesigwa Rukaari before Cosase

After allegedly losing nearly Shs 10 billion to Mbarara City North MP Robert Mwesigwa Rukaari, a family in western Uganda’s Isingiro district has petitioned parliament.

Hillary Twesiga, Vital Mukarago, Steven Muganga, Paul Mukarangye, Jerald Gutesa, and the estate of Frank Mirenge have petitioned the Speaker of Parliament’s office to intervene and have the MP who is already under investigation for allegedly stealing Uganda Railways Corporation land in Nsambya refund their money.

According to the family members, they had land in the Isingiro district that was occupied by refugees until June 2018, when the government reimbursed them for Shs 13,549,481,400. (Shs 13bn).

Mwesigwa, through his company, American Procurement Company Inc (AMPROC Inc), persuaded them to give him powers of attorney so that he could receive all government payments on their behalf and then remit the funds to each petitioner.

According to the case filed by Kakuru and Company Advocates, the MP collected a total of Shs 10,225,710,000 (Shs 10 billion) from two firms, AMPROC and Mwesigwa Resorts Ltd, between June 13, 2018 and May 11, 2020, but never transferred the money to the intended beneficiaries.

“When the petitioners realized there would be no remittance from Hon. Robert Mwesigwa Rukaari, they revoked his power of attorney and filed a complaint with the permanent secretary ministry of Lands, who stopped remittances to AMPROC Inc and started remitting the balance directly to their personal accounts,” according to part of the petition.

The petitioners have got Shs 1,372,067,400 (Shs 1.3 billion) so far and are still waiting for the remaining Shs 1,951,704,000. (Shs 1.9bn).

The petitioners had previously petitioned the president on July 9, 2020, and met with the state House legal officer in October in the hopes of resolving their issue. However, nothing has been done since they met her on October 22, 2020, causing them to seek the Speaker of Parliament to intervene and order Mwesigwa to repay all of the money he owes them.

The MP’s phone number listed on the parliament website was disconnected, so he couldn’t be reached for comment. This isn’t the first time Rukaari has been mentioned in connection with a land deal.

He came before the Land Commission of Inquiry led by Lady Justice Catherine Bamugemereire in 2018 for stealing money from the land fund, despite the fact that he had no claims for compensation. For non-existent land, he was paid more than Shs 3 billion.

He has recently testified before a parliamentary committee examining the loss of Uganda Railways Land. Rukaari is one of the beneficiaries of the 57 acres of property in Nsambya and Kibuli that the government sold in 2009 for Shs 69.5 billion in order to save the struggling company. Rukaari had purchased three parcels of URC land in Port Bell and Mulago for Shs 357 million Shillings at the time.

However, Uganda Railways Corporation has reportedly not received paid from the sale of the land in question ten years later, triggering an investigation by the parliament’s commissions, statutory authorities, and state enterprises committee (Cosase).

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