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{UAH} Museveni gave Catholic Church 35 billion to keep quiet about Nalufeenya

Shocking secrets have emerged showing that, even when many politically-minded Catholics are bitter with their leaders' conspicuous silence on the ongoing Nalufenya torture saga, the Catholic Church leadership won't be speaking out soon.

This is so because of the multi-billion deal that inadvertently got some of the influential Catholic leaders in a tight corner, something some knowledgeable political pundits last night likened to falling into Museveni's trap. It has reliably been revealed to that the ongoing silence relates to the Shs35bn Museveni coughed as government contribution towards the reconstruction of Namugongo Catholic Martyrs shrines.

This was part of the preparations for the Pope's visit in November 2015. Very reliable Catholic Church sources disclosed last night exclusively to us that whereas Museveni's Shs35bn was disguised and introduced to millions of grateful Ugandan Catholics as a government contribution, there was actually more than what met the eye.

Reliable sources say that having realized that Museveni would find challenges delivering the bounty if this was treated like an ordinary pledge, as guys at Finance and State House would keep saying there is no money, it was agreed that the Church accesses the money as compensation for Catholic Church land that former President Amin confiscated in 1970s to facilitate the Entebbe Airport expansion project. The land actually dully belonged to the Catholic Church but Amin, who was fascinated by big public works, compulsorily acquired it to facilitate airport expansion.

Whereas the Amin regime actually compensated the Church, this information wasn't readily available to many people until after Museveni had squeezed his aides at Finance Ministry and State House to facilitate the expeditious expansion and renovation works at Namugongo. "Just like the Catholic Church leaders, the President didn't know that the Amin government had actually compensated the Church for the Entebbe Airport land.

It was only realized after the money had been paid out and duly sunk into the Namugongo works," said one of the many State House knowledgeable sources we spoke to for this article. This information was variously corroborated by knowledgeable elders in the Catholic Church national hierarchy. When it was realized the Amin regime had compensated the Church, Museveni called a meeting of top Catholic Church leaders and asked them about this discrepancy.

They rightly told him these are many years ago and they too weren't aware anything had ever been paid. "Well we all didn't know. I don't blame you and I can't blame my staff but this clearly is a matter of double payment which potentially can cause some leaders to be prosecuted if fraudulent intent were to be proved against them.

There is something called immunity against criminal prosecution but it covers only the President. I won't pass moral judgment on any one but this is something we must learn from," Museveni was quoted as telling Catholic leaders. Sources added that despite this olive branch, Museveni assured them these are public funds and that his security teams would continue investigating to find out if any of the church leaders knew about this double payment and fraudulently withheld the information.

He said then that way culprits with either be put to trial or compelled to refund government money that went into double compensation contrary to the law and rules of prudent practice. We are told Museveni also raised queries as to whether all the Shs35bn was completely used and sunk into the Namugongo project ahead of the Pope's visit.

Reliable sources revealed that the possibility of a secret criminal investigation, which Museveni hinted on in that meeting, implicating some influential individuals over this saga, partly explains why the Catholic Church leadership these days generally fears to politically antagonize Museveni.

"This is why many of the Bishops and Clergy that used to be politically very outspoken in the past over governance issues are these days conspicuously quiet, even when people are tortured because there is consensus that when provoked, Museveni could aggressively pursue this matter, put some leaders to trial and publicly erode whatever remains of the Church leadership's moral authority to question the excesses of his government," said a knowledgeable political-Catholic Church pundit.

The pundit added that: "If it's true Museveni always wished to demystify institutions then he is done with the Catholic Church because with all the information he has regarding that Shs35bn saga and the double compensation by government for the same Church property, those guys can no longer have moral authority to point at his [M7's] political excesses because some of them are morally on trial just like the man they like to demonize."

It was further revealed that Museveni tested the extent to which the Shs35bn saga had subdued Catholic Church leaders when he called for a meeting with different religious denominations leaders including rebel priest Fr. Jacinto Kibuuka. "In the past people would hit the roof protesting being equated to a rebel priest but this time round they were all quiet and nobody protested why Kibuuka was being treated as an equal," said a State House source close to the prelates' meeting in question.


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