COSASE Committee warns court against granting Kiconco an injunction over his Shs39 billion tea farmers compensation scandal investigation
Members of Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) have warned court against granting Lawyer Patrick Kiconco Katabaazi, a partner with Pathways Advocates an injunction from being investigated over failure to account for Shs39 billion meant for Kigezi region tea nursery bed operators.
COSASE said decision by Patrick Kiconco Katabaazi to seek for an injunction against being investigated for failure to give a clear accountability is questionable.
Kiconco’s Court injunction is set for Wednesday this week under Justice Stephen Mubiru who has been warned against ruling in the favour of the accused.
After the Auditor General’s report that NAADS advanced Shs39 billion to Pathways Advocates to compensate tea nursery operators who had sued government for failure to procure their seedlings, Lawyer Kiconco Patrick Katabaazi was supposed to parliament by COSASE to account for the funds.
And this was after NAADS boss, Samuel Mugasi tabled evidence that the agricultural body advanced funds to Pathways Advocates in two instalments of Shs27 billion and Shs12 billion.
Kiconco’s sent one of his partners who the committee rejected and told him that they wanted Kiconco in person.
He failed to appear before committee to respond to claims that his law firm, Pathways Advocates had received UGX 39bn from the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) to clear arrears owed to the farmers in Kigezi Region.
Counsel Kiconco Patrick Katabaazi bowed to pressure and finally appeared before the committee.
After appearing before the committee late last month, Legislators found it difficult to extra the needed responses from the said query. This compelled the View Chairperson of the committee Hon. Lucy Akello, to hand Kiconco to Police.
A large section of farmers in the region continue to insist that they have never received any payments.
The money in question came under the spot light a few weeks ago when COSASE started interrogating queries contained in Auditor General Report that NAADS spent UGX 7bn without a budget in Financial Year 2021/22.
In the lead to his arrest, Kiconco claimed that his law firm had cleared said arrears which contradicts what the farmers are saying.
This prompted committee to rule that criminal investigators take over the matter and report back to Parliament for further action.
For any payments made, it must be receipted and documented and MPs are wondering why can’t Kiconco the receipts of the said payment.
COSASE have warned that Kiconco and his Law firm Pathways must prove their innocence by allowing proper investigations rather than running to Courts for an injunction.