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Friday, August 19, 2022

Archbishop Lwanga Reports Top City Lawyers to Museveni Over Church Money

Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga wants President Yoweri Museveni to punish three lawyers pressurizing him over part of the money paid as compensation for Entebbe and Nsambya church land.

The Catholic Archbishop of Kampala Archdiocese, Lwanga wrote to Museveni last month reporting Ebert Byenkya Kihika, Gordon Bainomugisha and Julius Galisonga for demanding billions from the church.

In total, the trio has sued Lwanga in three separate cases demanding Shs9.6bn of the Shs17.6bn Government paid to the Church as rent arrears for Nsambya land.

Byenkya wants Shs920m, Bainomugisha Shs3.4bn while Julius Galisonga of Galisonga and Company Advocates who is demanding Shs5.3bn.

“If we paid out all that money, we would remain with nothing to cater for our needs in the Archdiocese,” wrote Lwanga.

In the same letter, the cleric also reveals that on several occasions, he had paid huge sums of money to the three top lawyers on humanitarian grounds and because they had piled pressure on him.

For example, Byenkya, the lead counsel of the Catherine Bamugemereire-led Land Commission of Inquiry, had asked for 25 per cent of Shs20.5bn compensation for Entebbe land.

But Lwanga says he had paid the lawyer, who also defended Museveni in previous election petitions, what he afforded.
The religious leader also accuses the top legal brain of having misguided him that he wouldn’t get the compensation from government if he didn’t give him instructions.But after meeting Museveni sometime in 2018, Lwanga returned with more confidence and “retracted all their instructions stopping them from pursuing the matter further.”

Museveni had assured the cleric, with whom he had reconciled months earlier following the latter’s criticism of the lifting of the age limit, that it’s government officials, not lawyers who execute his directives.

But Byenkya had reportedly taken advantage of Lwanga’s absence from office to convince the vicar to reinstate the instructions and allow him transfer the compensation money to his law firm’s account.

Lawyer Byenkya, one of those Archbishop Lwanga wants Museveni to punish.
Ebert Byenkya.

As for Bainomugisha, son to former minister Serapio Rukundo, Lwanga said church paid the lawyer Shs5bn for his role in pushing for the Entebbe Land compensation because he “kept intimidating me as well by taking me to the media and court.”

He added that Bainomugisha had also received payment for the work he had done before he got an extra Shs5bn.

For Galisonga, Lwanga claims claims that the lawyer used Francis Lwanga, a Centenary Bank staffer, to leak the Archdiocese’s account information which he used to pile pressure on him demanding payment.

According to the letter, the church had paid its lawyers of Buwuule and Mayiga Company Advocates Shs2.6bn on the Shs12.8bn instalment on Nsambya land used by Uganda Police.

He had instructed the Archdiocese’s lawyers to pay all the members of the legal team that had been involved.

But Galisonga, Byenkya and Bainomugisha demanded more when they learnt through their bank contact that the church had received the last instalment.

Archbishop Lwanga is now worried that the cases in court, whereby he is represented by Muhumbura and Company Advocates, might take long, giving the lawyers a chance to continue pressurizing him.

He now wants Museveni to “intervene because these court cases put my life in danger and also tarnish the good image of the Government which seems to let go such forgeries.”

On what intervention he is seeking, Lwanga called on the president to “bring the above mentioned lawyers to book after having misguided me through the whole process, intimidating me, putting me under unnecessary pressure and taking advantage of my lack of information about how government procedures operate.”

The lawyers are yet to officially respond to the claims, nor has the president.

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