SOLD GOATS TO BUY UBC LAND: Burahya MP Margaret Muhanga

 

The Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) is on the spot over land, with Haba Group of businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba and Burahya County Member of Parliament Margaret Muhanga’s name eminently surfacing again.

In a report by the Committee on Statutory Agencies and State Enterprises (COSASE) to the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, the members UBC land in various places in Uganda including 23.1 acres in Bugolobi were disposed of irregularly ‘by ministerial orders’.

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Particularly, Haba Group and MP Muhanga are linked to the suspicious change of ownership of plots 8-10, 12-16 and 18-20 in Bugolobi and during earlier investigations the MP told Parliament that she sold her goats to raise Shs11 billion to raise the money to buy the UBC land in question. However, she has since returned the title but not before 2.095 acres disappearing in ‘thin air’.

‘The committee upon recovery of the title from Hon. Muhanga Margaret awaiting the directive of this house, requested for opening of the boundaries of the said land. Out of the 20.31 acres indicated in the land title, only 20.05 acres were available and the rest have equally been disposed of with the help of Uganda Land Commission. Recovery of the balance of 2.095 acres awaits directive of this house,’ the 184-pqge report by COSASE, which is chaired by Bugweri MP Abdu Katuntu, states in part.

Further, the COSASE report, derived from the Auditor General’s reports of 2013/14 and 2014/15, recommends that the land revert to UBC, while the ULC be investigated for all dubious transactions on the corporation’s land.

The committee also noted that the UBC had not carried out an inventory of its assets, with a view to arriving at the exact value of its assets including receivables amounting to over Shs20 billion that had not been recovered by the end of year 2015. Interestingly, according to the report, the UBC owes creditors over Shs30 billion, something that could lead to litigation.

‘The committee noted that the assets of the institution have not been valued thus portraying misstated financial statements over the years. It may appear innocent but its core to the functions of the entity, because the institution does not know what they own with the attendant values,’ the MP noted, and recommended that the Managing Director put in place a debt recovery policy.

The committee also noted that all the 247 UBC staff work without valid contracts, and that the corporation has not remitted to the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) over Shs7 billion.

It also faulted the corporation for flouting Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets (PPDA) regulation by procuring promotional materials worth Shs61, 155, 680.

It should be recalled that in August last year, the former UBC MD Paul Kihika, who was forced out of office in 2014, was arrested over the suspicious purchase of Chinese movie soaps worth about Shs50m.

Meanwhile, the COSASE report that is due to be tabled in Parliament has so far covered six state agencies namely: UNRA, the UBC; the Uganda Railways Corporation (URC); the National Forestry Authority (NFA); the National Housing and Construction Company (NHCC) and the Rural Electrification Agency (REA).