Thursday, September 29, 2011
BASAJJABALABA AND COMPANY WILL CONTINUE RUINING UGANDAN'S BECAUSE OF STATE HOUSE CONNECTIONS OR COVER-UPS?
Mr Basajjabalaba appears before MPs. PHOTO by joseph kiggundu
By YASIIN MUGERWA
Posted Friday, September 30 2011 at 00:00
Businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba yesterday told MPs that President Museveni approved his Shs142 billion claims for loss of business when his contracts to manage city markets were cancelled.
Appearing before the Public Accounts Committee yesterday, Mr Basajjabalaba said he had lost business for 11 years after the government on the instructions of the President cancelled his tenders to run Nakasero, Shauriyako, St. Balikuddembe (Owino) markets and the Constitution Square.
He claimed $65 million (about Shs182 billion) although the Attorney General recommended that he is paid Shs142.6 billion.
Ex-govt valuer pins Solicitor General on Basajja’s claims
“After they cancelled my contracts, I was called by the President and we discussed these issues in detail on December 27, 2006. The President quoted the law and ordered that the matter be resolved within 60 days,” said Mr Basajjabalaba. “KCC (then) advertised and we put in our bid like any other company. Later they gave us an offer and we have evidence,” he added.
The businessman’s revelations are at odds with a letter President Museveni wrote in May this year, describing the Shs142b claim as “ridiculous and unacceptable”. In a letter to former Finance Minister Syda Bbumba, in which he called for an investigation, Mr Museveni said he had received information that some officials in the finance ministry were swindling government money through questionable loan agreements and settling “unacceptable” claims.
Can return the money
Mr Basajjabalaba told MPs that if they thought the Shs142b compensation was exaggerated, he was willing to return the money to the city authority on grounds that they reinstate his market sub-leases and the Constitution Square.
“Some people in government think I was given a lot of money. I would be happy if government returns the markets and the Constitution Square because the properties are worth more in value than the current money,” said the businessman. “The time gap is what is causing these differences and accumulation. In 11 years we lost a lot of businesses. We have to seek compensation and the President asked the Attorney General to handle the matter.”
Asked how he arrived at the figure, Mr Basajjabalaba, who was accompanied by his lawyers, said since December 2006 he has had several meetings with the President regarding his compensation, adding that Mr Museveni did not put the matter in writing until August 30, 2008.
Whereas PAC chairman Kassiano Wadri instructed CID to investigate a consent judgement dated October 6, 2010, which an official of court disowned and said was a forgery and another letter from Mr Christopher Gasharabaki of the Justice Ministry exempting Mr Basajjabalaba from paying taxes, the businessman insisted the ministry disowned a valid document. He also said the matter was before court and arguing it would be illegal.
Mr Basajjabalaba, however, accused former Town Clerk Gordon Mwesigye, who was not available for comment, of making his life difficult because he had an interest in Nakasero Market.
Mr Wadri and committee lead counsel Gerald Karuhanga said they would summon the businessman again but asked that he returns with the contracts, original compensation claims, justification and receipts for the monies so far paid to him.