The State Minister for Housing Chris Baryomunsi has spoken out on his clashes with Kanungu businessman Garuga Musinguzi, saying that Garuga must account for public funds.
In a message widely shared on social media, Baryomunsi says that all he wants is for Garuga to account for the failing to payrefund money to nursery operators who transported seedlings to farmers’ gardens yet NAADS released the money.
Baryomunsi who insisted that facts had been distorted about his insistence to get accountability, the minister said that Garuga must account for the money.
“Those who think a man like Garuga should not be asked to account for such public funds are entitled to your view but I beg to differ. I hope this gives all of you a clear perspective of these issues,” said Baryomunsi.
Below is his full message:
I think the facts are being distorted in this issue. In May 2016, I received a petition from Kanungu Tea Nursery Operators complaining of 2 issues against Mr Garuga (Musinguzi) and Kinkizi Development Company.
The issues were the money they had contributed towards the construction of the district administration block that was given to Garuga and no construction has taken place to date.
The money totaling over 1 billion was contributed in early 2015. The other issue was failure by Kinkizi Nursery Development Agency to refund money to nursery operators who had transported seedlings to farmers’ gardens yet NAADS released the money. I forwarded this complaint to the IGG.
Garuga then sued me for defamation. Before the case can be heard, as is usual court practice, court asked for mediation between the two parties. We agreed that as part of mediation that we both go to Kanungu and meet these nursery operators and establish the facts.
The meeting was proceeding fairly well until a point when Karabenda the Chairman of Nursery Operators was presenting evidence showing bank documents indicating that up to 900 million were remitted to Garuga, then Garuga and his lawyers walked out unceremoniously leaving all of us in the hall. When I asked how many people still wanted their money, over 90% of the nursery operators stood up and registered to get their money back.
During the meeting, a minority section said the money was meant for Rugyeyo Health center but majority opposed that view. They argued that the money for the health center was contributed in 2013 not 2015. Someone embarrassingly presented a copy of forged minutes which was terrible. It should be appreciated that the conflict is between Garuga and nursery operators not myself. I am only involved because I was petitioned as an MP.
I think all of us must be accountable irrespective of our status in society. I appreciate what Garuga has done to cause development in Kanungu but am duty bound to act on concerns of the people I represent.
Those who think a man like Garuga should not be asked to account for such public funds are entitled to your view but I beg to differ. I hope this gives all of you a clear perspective of these issues.