SENT ON REMAND AGAIN! Paul Kihika, the former UBC Managing Director

The Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) has grilled former Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) Managing Director Paul Kihika to provide documentation for some of the transactions he made while in office.

Mr Kihika was on Wednesday sent to Parliament’s Police Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Department by the Committee, chaired by Bugweri MP Abdu Katuntu. The committtee also directed  the current and former UBC Management to meet in UBC Board room on  September 2,2016 and resolve their issues.

Mr Kihika was forced out of office on August 4 2014 dramatically as he denied board members and his then successor Mr Angelo Nkezza access to the office before Police was called in to force the door open.

Last month, Burahya county Member of Parliament Margaret Muhanga Mugisa stunned Ugandans with the claim that she sold her “cows, goats and everything” to raise the Shs 10.2 billion that she paid in cash to buy land belonging to the UBC management under Kihika.

COSASE is securitizing the 2013/14 auditors general’s report in which the UBC land saga is highlighted and says Kihika started a fire sale of the public broadcaster’s prime land.

Many politicians benefited in the land bonanza often irregularly. In the mad rush, fatal mistakes were committed, which later came to haunt the culprits. The High Court found that this particular transaction was flawed and illegal and struck it down, potentially leaving the original buyers, Haba Group, without the land or the money they’d paid against an illegal transaction they couldn’t enforce.

Margaret Muhanga presenting her 'evidence'
Margaret Muhanga presenting her ‘evidence’

This 23.1-acre land saga started on February, 14, 2011, when UBC sold its land in Bugolobi to Haba Group (U) Ltd, a company owned by city businessman (and the then NRM entrepreneurs’ league chairman) Hassan Basajjabalaba at Shs11.5 billion.

Three months later, on May, 16, 2011, Haba Group sold the same land to a company known as Deo and Sons Properties Ltd at Shs 22 billion, meaning Haba Group made a profit of Shs Shs10.5 billion within just 90 days. On May 31, 2011, Deo and Sons Properties Ltd was subsequently registered as a proprietor of the land, which is located in Folio 18, plots 8-10, 12-16 and 18-20 along Faraday road, Bugolobi.

However, after the sale and subsequent transfer of title, the then UBC managing director, Paul Kihika, wrote a letter in which he terminated the sale agreement between the national broadcaster and Haba Group on grounds that sale was done without ministerial approval as provided for in the UBC Act.

In the letter, Kihika further asked the commissioner for land registration to de-register Deo and Sons Properties Ltd as proprietors of the land and return ownership to UBC.

Kihika’s letter prompted Deo and Sons Properties Ltd to go to court (land division), together with Haba Group, and challenge Kihika’s actions on the grounds that he “wrongfully” terminated the sale agreement.

UBC raised a counterclaim that the sale of the suit land to Haba Group was in contravention of the UBC Act and therefore illegal. At the hearing presided over by high court judge.