KAMPALA- The State Minister for Water, Mr Ronald Kibuule has been accused of conniving with land dealers and police officers to fabricate charges that led to the detention of Mr James Banda, a local council chairman of Kigaya village in Buikwe District.
Mr Banda told the Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters that he is in jail because he declined to agree with a land broker, Mr Musa Kateeregga to fraudulently sell land to Mr Kibuule.
“My arrest and detention since last year was a result of Mr Kibuule’s purchase of land in Kigaya but because I did not agree that Kateregga owned land to sell to the minister. I even do not know if he has a land title but Kibuule fenced off people’s bibanja (plots) including mine,” Mr Banda, testified on Friday.
Accompanied by prison officers, Mr Banda appeared before the Justice Catherine Bamugemereire-led Commission on production warrant after witnesses reported arrests, torture and detention of several people including him.
He appealed to the commission to advocate for his release on bail pending trial.
Mr Banda is facing charges of malicious damage to property which he denies.
“I was charged jointly with other residents over a case I reported to the police regarding demolition of a house belonging to Kateregga at night. To my surprise, all my co-accused persons were released on bail, I also applied, brought sureties were allowed and the money was paid but the magistrate instead sent me to prison wheret I am suffering,” he said.
Mr Kibuule is jointly accused with police officers led by Assistant Superintendent of Police Gaston Twinamatsiko and a businessman Kateregga in connection with the detention of Mr Banda who is in Lugazi Prison.
It is alleged that in July last year the three; Mr Kibuule, Mr Twinamatsiko and Mr Kateregga conspired and fraudulently obtained proprietorship of acres of land in Kigaya Golomolo in Buikwe District.
The contentious land measuring 261.03 hectares at Kigaya-Golomolo in Buikwe District is comprised in block 369.
Evidence before the commission indicates that the said land belongs to the Kabaka of Buganda under the Namasole (Queen mother of the reigning Kabaka of Buganda).
It is alleged that since July last year, Mr Kibuule deployed armed security personnel who have been arresting and jailing people as well as destroying their crops and houses forcing some to flee.
Mr Kibuule, who is the Mukono North MP was last week quizzed by the Commission over his alleged involvement in the deployment of armed security personnel in the area leading to the arrest and detention of various people.
However, he denied any wrong doing insisting that he rightfully purchased the disputed land.
The Commission also quizzed and ordered the arrest of Mr Kateregga who was subsequently charged and remanded over criminal offences by the Mukono Magistrates’ court.
Mr Twinamatsiko, the officer in charge of Buikwe Police was arrested and handed over to the Police Standards Unit for further investigation in regard to various offences including fraud, forgery, and neglect of duty and violation of peoples’ rights as well as obstructing justice.
Justice Bamugemereire said that Mr Banda’s issues would be raised to the relevant authorities to address them.