COSASE Summons Lawyer Kiconco Over Alleged Sh39bn NAADS Receipt

Kampala, Uganda | The Black Examiner  – Lucy Akello, the Vice Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Commission Statutory Authorities and State Enterprise (COSASE), has issued a summons to counsel Patrick Kiconco Katabazi from Pathways Advocates. The lawyer is required to appear before the committee on the upcoming Tuesday, as per the directive.

Initially, Counsel Kiconco was expected to attend a session before the committee on Thursday. However, he sent fellow advocate counsel Asiimwe Mugumya in his stead. The committee rejected this substitution.

The summons comes in response to allegations involving Lawyer Kiconco’s receipt of Sh39 Billion. The funds were intended for the payment of tea seedling growing farmers, disbursed by the National Agricultural Advisory Services-NAADs.

The issue stems from the Auditor General’s report for the fiscal year 2021/2022. It reveals that NAADs had advanced Sh39 billion to Kiconco’s law firm. The purpose was to settle with tea farmers who had pursued legal action against the government due to their tea seedlings not being purchased, leading to financial losses. This legal matter was subsequently resolved out of court, with the government offering compensation.

However, some of the concerned farmers allege that they have not received the payments from Counsel Kiconco. The lawyer had been engaged to advocate for their rights against the government.

In light of these developments, the committee has decided that Lawyer Kiconco must appear before them next week on Tuesday. The request includes providing comprehensive details regarding all beneficiaries of the Sh39 billion. This information encompasses names, bank account details, amounts received by each beneficiary, National Identification Numbers (NIN) from their IDs, and the regions where their tea seedlings are cultivated.

In an unrelated matter, the same committee has expressed astonishment at the expenditures incurred by NAADs during the same financial year. An audit query revealed that NAADs had utilized Sh3.4 billion for travel expenses. Additionally, the audit exposed further expenditures, including Sh408 million on allowances, Sh332 million on fuel, and Sh441 million on vehicle maintenance.

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