Members of Parliament on the Adhoc Committee investigating the allocation of land at the former Nakawa-Naguru Housing Estate have discovered that Uganda Land Commission (ULC) did not advertise for the land before it was allocated.
Officials from the ULC led by the Acting Chairperson, Prof Nyeko Pen-Mogi on Tuesday appeared before the committee that is currently inquiring into the process of distribution of 82.05 acres of land to different investors.
During the meeting, Andrew Nyumba, the Acting Secretary ULC said that on January 13, 2022, the Commission revised earlier allocations of land at Nakawa-Naguru and distributed a total of 25 acres to the Internal Medicine of Virginia, 15 acres.
Uganda Heart Institute 10 acres, KCCA Nakawa Division offices 3.09 acres, Naguru Infant Primary School 1 acre, St. Peters Church of Uganda 1.05 acres and Ntinda Whole Sellers 2 acres.
He said that this was in line with President Yoweri Museveni’s directive.
He added that another 38 acres were distributed to investors. These are Anil Damani 3 acres, Arab Oil Supplies and Exploration Limited 4 acres, Dashen (U) Limited 3 acres, Dembe Enterprises Limited 3 acres, Dominion Partners Limited 1 acre, EACOM International Limited 1 acre, and others.
Nyumba further explained that after the distribution, the Commission received an assessment of premium and ground rent from the Chief Government Valuer indicating what each of the entities that were allocated land was supposed to pay.
The total premium was 20.451 billion shillings while ground rent totaled 1.22 billion Shillings.
“Whereas the total expected collections of premium and ground rent were 21.473 billion Shillings, some of the allocates was given a waiver by the Minister of Lands, and with this waiver, they were meant to pay 20,000 Shillings per acre, per annum. So now the realized collections from the allocations are 10.28 billion from premium and 468 million from ground rent,” said Nyumba.
MPs learned that there is still money outstanding from Fakhruddin Properties Limited and EACOM International Limited totaling 516 million premium and 25.8 million ground rent.
Nyumba says that the expected total collections after the waivers are Sh11.493 billion.
MPs Asuman Basalirwa representing Bugiri Municipality and Sheema Municipality MP Dickson Kateshumbwa questioned how the beneficiaries got to know about the land and eventually got allocated.
They also asked whether there was an advertisement for the land.
Prof Nyeko Pen-Mogi, said that the land was internally advertised and people responded.
This angered MPs who questioned how the different investors learned about an internal advert and whether ULC does not follow the law or guidelines to dispose of public property.
Dan Kimosho, the Chairperson of the Committee directed that the officials be put on oath to provide the committee with correct and consistent information.
Nyumba said that ULC lacks an inventory of public land and that it is individuals who identify the land in different areas and request the Commission for allocation.
Prof Nyeko also noted that there are no gazetted guidelines on the allocation of land.
He however indicated that the guidelines are still in draft.
He also added that one of the provisions is to advertise the land in a public newspaper.
Basalirwa said that the statements from ULC were shameful and indicated a disservice to the country.
Kateshumbwa asked the officials to present the internal advert, reveal the officials who authorized the internal advert and the number of people who responded to the advert.
However, Nyumba said that the February 2021 minutes of the Commission don’t capture how many applicants were received.
Nyumba who joined ULC in January 2022 also said that he did not get a copy of the internal advert on file.
“I cannot confirm or deny whether there was an advertisement. I have not seen that advert on file,” Nyumba said.
But Prof Nyeko insisted that the Commission agreed to advertise and does not know whether the advert was made.
Kimosho wondered whether members of the ULC follow up on their decisions to ascertain implementation.
Basalirwa also demanded that the Commission avails the committee with minutes of the meeting where the advertisement was agreed upon.
Kimosho adjourned to Wednesday and directed the ULC officials to bring all documents regarding the land in question.
He also directed the committee clerk to write to the registrar of companies to avail names of directors and shareholders of the companies that were allocated land.
He said they will be invited to the committee to explain how they learned about the land in question yet it was not advertised.