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CID visit Bidandi seeking information on Constitution Square

Three officers from the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) on Friday quizzed former Local Government minister, Jaberi Bidandi Ssali, in an attempt to build up a case against businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba who was controversially paid Shs 142bn as compensation for losses incurred in markets and other properties.

Sources in CID have told The Observer that Bidandi’s input was vital because, as minister of Local Government, he foiled attempts by Kampala City Council (KCC) to lease out the Constitution Square, a city landmark, to Basajjabalaba.

The Observer has learnt that the CID officers met Bidandi at his Kiwatule Recreation Centre, near Ntinda, where they quizzed him for several hours. According to our sources, Bidandi was cooperative.

Now chairman of the opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Bidandi confirmed being interviewed by the CID when The Observer contacted him. But he declined to divulge any details. He emphasized that it was not him under investigation, but that the officers wanted him to give them some information.

Sources told us Bidandi explained how he set up a commission of inquiry headed by Chris Mudoola to look into the giveaway of the Constitution Square. He explained that the commission recommended that given its historical significance, the Constitution Square should not be given away — a position he agreed with. Bidandi was also asked whether he has any relationship with the businessman, and he said he had none.

The interrogation comes less than a month after Bidandi, in an interview with The Observer, said Basajjabalaba did not deserve to be compensated for the Constitution Square. He said while still in government, he stopped KCC from awarding the businessman a lease to redevelop the green park.

“I took trouble to explain to KCC [not to give away Constitution Square], but it was not heeding. I stood firm and took the matter to the cabinet.

“Some people in cabinet did not see the significance of what we were talking about, so we agreed to set up a commission of inquiry, which was led by Chris Mudoola. Fortunately, [Mudoola’s commission] came up with recommendations that fortified my position — that this is one place in Uganda that should remain forever as a monument,” Bidandi said.

He also told us he doubts that the Shs 142bn went to Basajjabalaba’s account or that the businessman got even a quarter of it, fearing that the money could have been used to fund activities such as election campaigns.

Hot Potato

The compensation saga last month led to the resignation of two ministers, Syda Bbumba (Gender, Labour and Social Development) and Dr Khiddu Makubuya (General Duties). Last week, three employees of State House (Joy Kabatsi, Geoffrey Atwine and Edward Muhoozi) were sacked for their various roles in the saga.

The Bank of Uganda Governor, Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, who the Public Accounts Committee had wanted relieved of his duties, survived after a cabinet sub-committee investigating the matter found him not culpable. The cabinet took this position to Parliament, which cleared Mutebile amid acrimonious debate.

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+3 #1 daniel sekadde 2012-03-12 01:46
Mzee Bidandi Please Speak the Plain Truth, this may Save Uganda this Huge Cash be recovered!
You may be Right Hon. Part of this Cash was Used by STATE HOUSE that's why Mbabazi has been in the Center stage fighting to save Mutebile (On Orders of M7 OFCOURSE..!!)

So we shouldnt be fooled again!
Was my 100% guess, M7 will do everything to let this go in the drain
And the way they conducted the Parliament, Clea
+6 #2 nanano Anna 2012-03-12 12:07
Why go a mukene when the huge shark is in the state house enjoying every bit? Just asking! Lack of what to do or hoodwinking Ugandans..., i guess
+4 #3 joe 2012-03-12 12:17
What beats my understanding is that parliament intervenes to exonerate ministers and the governor while Bad Black ends up in the anti- corruption court instead of the Magistrate's or High court.

Was the anti-corruption court set up to deal with people who have never held office?
Could someone kindly explain?
+4 #4 Andrew Nsubuga 2012-03-12 12:26
The police CID should investigate Mr.Museveni the fact is let's call a spade a spade not a spone all Ugandans know that behind Basajjabafuna-Basajjabalaba's dubious businesses is President Museveni who owns it and the whole Compesation fraud scheme is Mr. Museveni's baby and cash making cow apart from the President who else cancelled any contract other than the man himself.

Mr.Museveni is without any doubt behind all these billions and he should help the police and might as well step down if he has any credibility
+4 #5 huh ! 2012-03-12 14:42
You all know nothing is going to come of this. Stop wasting our time and website space.
+8 #6 Kagombe 2012-03-12 17:18
I sympathize with those holding the view that such investigations will lead to nothing. However, even for purposes of records, let us have them. Thanks to Observer for covering the story. Posterity and history will know where to lay the blame, and probably vital lessons will be learnt.
-4 #7 Eliminate Exclamatio 2012-03-12 19:58
A new club called "The society for the elimination of exclamation marks" has been formed in Uganda. Its members are those who are no longer surprised at whatever happens in the Banana republic.

Want to join ? Give me a call.I am the omnipotent president of the club and there are no elections or term limit! Why go crazy and miss your sleep because of endless scandals in Government when you can live happily rearing your ducks.
-1 #8 Grace 2012-03-12 23:09
@Kizito,your language should be user friendly...say 'he uses state resources for his own business".
-1 #9 DAVID 2012-03-13 14:35
When is the police going for Mr Ssebaana Kizito, who was the then Kampala Mayor, under whose watch the botched transaction took place?

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