Rukutana was summoned to explain how the Government acquired the Mutungo Hill land that is used as a facility for the External Security Organisation (ESO).
Rukutana appearing before the commission
COMMISSION BAMUGEMEREIRE RUKUTANA
The land probe commission was yesterday an arena in a battle of wits, when Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana and commission chairperson Justice Catherine Bamugemereire faced off over the contentious Mutungo land compensation.
Rukutana was summoned to explain how the Government acquired the Mutungo Hill land that is used as a facility for the External Security Organisation (ESO). The commission is also querying Rukutana’s opinion in his capacity, when he endorsed payment to Dr. Muhammad Kasasa Buwule for the 12-acre facility land. Rukutana explained that he had been in office for four years.
Rukutana: “Legal matters are none of the Auditor General’s business. It is his business when it comes to matters related to accounting. But when it comes to legal interpretation, that is the role of the Attorney General.”
Bamugemereire: “Do you think that his role is only strictly financial, do you want to go on record?”
Rukutana: “If his role or opinion contradicts the opinion of the Attorney General on legal matters, then the opinion of the Attorney General prevails.”
Bamugemereire: “But this is the problem, the Auditor General has seen a loophole, he has noticed that there is a contract that has been entered into without the Solicitor General’s advice. So, in this case, he is well within his constitutional mandate to suggest that this contract should not have gone on because there was no Attorney General opinion.”
Rukutana: “My lord, I said that when it comes to accounting and financial matters, the Auditor General is right very much within mandate.”
Bamugemereire: “I don’t think that you are right.”
Rukutana: “Well, that is your opinion my lord.”
Bamugemereire: “I am not sure that you are right. And I am serious, and I don’t think that you are right.”
Rukutana: “I am also serious. And I am saying and I am asserting that I am right, when it comes to legal matters.”
Bamugemereire: “In fact, I think you are wrong. In fact, I think if a Deputy Attorney General goes on record to say that Auditor General has no right to peep at any document of government and comment on any issue except [if it is] financial. I think you are absolutely wrong!”
Rukutana: “My Lord, that is your opinion and it is not mine. I said when it comes to financial, auditing and accounting matters!”
Rukutana: “First of all, explain to me what a legal audit is.”
Bamugemereire: “Now, if you do not know legal audit, what are we supposed to tell you?”
Rukutana: “I know a legal audit, but not in terms of interpreting contracts. It is not that I don’t know it. Of course you know that I know it!”
Rukutana: “You should not wonder. By the time government purchased, Dr Kasasa (Buwule) was owner of property. Why shouldn’t government honour its obligations?” Bamugemereire: “Please be respectful. You have used words like ‘whatever’, which is not respectful to the commission.”
Rukutana: “If I will not be respected, I will not be respectful!”
Bamugemereire: “I think let’s stop here. Two weeks ago, we granted you an adjournment to come and respond. The learned Deputy Attorney General returned and our main objective was to bring clarity to this compensation award granted to Dr Kasasa (Buwule). “We had hoped that when the learned Deputy Attorney General would sit there, he would provide clarity. There are allegations of irregular, fraudulent process. We have been confronted by hostility, combativeness, and a condescending attitude never seen before.” “I have thought hard about this. Now I will refer this matter to His Excellency (Museveni) to find out how sh24.6b is about to leave the treasury. This level of disrespect cannot be tolerated here. I am dismissing you.”
Rukutana (to the press): “They found nothing to blame me for, and they got annoyed. Let them go to the President, I don’t care. All these things, the Government knows what happened. Let them go to the President or God.”