Museveni advisor cries foul over delayed war compensation

President Museveni’s advisor on Karamoja Affairs has accused government officials of delaying his war compensation amounting to more than Shs9 billion despite a presidential directive.

Mr Cornelius Lorika Kodet , a businessman, a hotelier, rancher, beach owner among other enterprises claims that he lost cattle and on his farm in Masindi during the 1979/80 war, for which he is asking the government to compensate him.

Mr Kodet who is a special presidential advisor on Karamoja regional affairs said his farm in now Kiryandongo (former Masindi) district was looted by NRA soldiers during the war who took cows to feed the Tanzanian Army in Gulu which was advancing North and West Nile region’s during the liberation war to oust Idi Amin.

He said that despite addressing every information requested from the intergovernmental Compensation committees and made the property available for inspection multiple times including a fact finding visit for the committee to the farm in September 2011, his compensation claim has been frustrated for the past decade.

Mr Cornelius Lorika Kodet speaks to about his compensation claim at Aero Beach beach in Entebbe recently. Photo/ AK

Mr Kodet has petitioned President Museveni in a series of letters seen by Entebbe Post asking him to intervene in the case which he renders stagnant for the last decade claiming for his compensation in order to rehabilitate his farm. 

 “A committee was constituted and they moved to Kiryandongo and Karamoja districts, to verify my claims for possible consideration and compensation but up to date, I have neither been compensated nor received any official communication from the Attorney General’s office despite several efforts and communication to him” he said.

Mr Kodet said President Museveni has issued the compensation directive twice to the ministry of justice and constitutional affairs but the president’s directive has never been followed through.

In response to the letters President Museveni directed the attorney General’s office to handle the matter and compensate Mr Kodet.

In the first letter on 09th April, 2010 to the Attorney General’s office then headed by Mr Kiddu Makubuya in which he directs him to verify Kodet’s claim and handle the matter appropriately, Mr Museveni acknowledges meeting Mr Cornelius Kodet on 03rd January, 2010 where Mr kodet explained to him the circumstances leading to the loss of his cattle and property in Masindi district during the 1979/1980 war to which Mr Museveni agreed to compensate Kodet to enable him reconstitute his farm.

In the second 29th July 2015 letter President Museveni acknowledges meeting Mr Cornelius Kodet on 28th June the same year who explained to him his claim and questions why despite his (President Museveni’s) directive of 9th April 2010 to the ministry of justice and constitution to verify and compensate Mr Kodet for the loss of his cattle and farm in Masindi during the liberation war, Mr Kodet has never been helped and why the matter had taken such a long time.

“I am, therefore, once again directing your ministry to verify and compensate Mr Kodet whose claim is now (Shs 9bn) nine billion shillings” part of President Museveni’s letter to then Attorney General Mr Fred Ruhindi reads.

In the two copies of letters seen by Entebbe post written by President Museveni on 09th April 2010 and 29th July 2015 with a quotation of Shs 3,607,500,000 and Shs 9 Bn respectively to then seating Attorney General’s directing them to verify and compensate Mr Kodet for the loss cattle and farm he suffered in Masindi district during the liberation war of 1979/80 still go unanswered by the office to date.

Mr Kodet said he cooperated in providing documentation of his losses and finds it emotionally painful and unfairly time consuming to continually submit documents as proof of his claim as he awaits compensation for such a long time.

When contacted, the deputy Attorney General Mr Jackson Kafuuzi said the compensation claim had not yet reached his desk.

“To be honest, I have never seen or heard of this claim.  Even if it was to be there and it came with the directive of the President, it still has to be verified, there would be a team instituted to confirm the claim. Even if it comes to my desk we have to subject it to a verification process” he said.

 Mr Kodet said he has sent reminders and requests to meet the current Attorney General, Mr William Byaruhanga over his decade long compensation claim to reconstitute his farm but has never got a response.

“On 10th March 2017, I requested for a meeting with you through your P.A Madam Namukwaya Jennipher, I feel this was not transmitted to you properly as I have received no reply. Therefore I am once again writing to remind you about my request for a meeting with you regarding :- My Compensation claim lodged with your ministry since 2010 but failed to be concluded despite several reminders including that of H.E the President” Part of a letter he wrote dated 18th.09.17 reads.

“It is my understanding that a Presidential directive has the force and effect of law, thus I wonder why my claim has now taken eight years without yielding any result. Therefore, I see no reason not to believe that (your /the ministry) has either ignored or refused to obey this directive by His Excellency the president or could it be that some section of the citizens of this country are being margnalised by your ministry” a letter dated 16th July 2018 reads.

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