Police, Land Commission Probed over Mbuya Land Bonanza

1363 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
The resolution was reached after Defence permanent secretary Rossette Byengoma said that she had written several queries to the police to investigate the matter without success.

The parliamentary Public Accounts Committee PAC wants the police leadership and Uganda Land Commission to establish how 12 acres of land belonging to the ministry of Defence in the leafy Mbuya suburb was parceled out to private developers

The resolution was reached after Defence permanent secretary Rossette Byengoma said that she had written several queries to the police to investigate the matter without success.

Byengoma was responding to an audit query raised in the FY 2012/2013 Auditor General’s report indicating that the Uganda Land commission issued land titles to people on the land in context.

According to the Auditor General’s report, Uganda Land Commission unlawfully allocated the land at Upper Mbuya to private individuals and issued with land titles, a position which was contested by the Defence ministry.

However, although the ministry stopped the individuals from undertaking development on the land, Police is yet to produce a report from its investigations on the matter. According to Byengoma, the ministry is still awaiting the IGP’s report on the investigation.

PAC chairperson Alice Alaso accused the Permanent Secretary of feigning ignorance on the manner in which the land was parceled.

 “Do we still have intelligence organs in this country? An unarmed civilian when he reaches the quarter-guard is subjected to thorough checks, how can you therefore claim that people come and start building on army land without your notice? You must be an interested party,” Alaso said.

Byengoma explained that she has on several occasions made physical visits to police and written to them over the issue but the investigations are not yet concluded.

“I don’t have any interest in the land and I want to inform the committee madam chairperson that it is the Land commission which gave out the land without consulting Defence,” Byengoma said.

Asked what she has done to the rest of the land, the permanent secretary said, she had already secured the land title of the remaining land in Mbuya.  She added that as she waits for the conclusion of police investigations, all construction on the contested land has been stopped.
 
Youth MPs Gerald Karuhanga, counterparts Jacob Opolot and Margaret Kiboijana demanded for the list of the beneficiaries in the land bonanza.

“Can you tell us who are these people who benefited from this land give away, we might get shocked that you are included, prove to us that you are not one of the people who took the plots,” Karuhanga said . He added that there could be a clique of government officials who could have grabbed the land and are not being protected by the permanent secretary.
 
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The committee tasked Byengoma to produce land titles belonging to the Army in their next meeting.

The MPs also resolved to undertake on spot check on the land that was parceled out.