The Prime Minister, Ruhakana Rugunda has informed Parliament that the government will probe circumstances under which the Attorney General, William Byaruhanga allegedly, through his company, acquired land which formerly belonged to Nakasero Primary School. Byaruhanga wants to sell the same land back to the government.
“Government is going to investigate these allegations. In the next sitting, the government will provide a preliminary report about this matter, we take allegations being made seriously especially ownership of the land,” he said yesterday while responding to MP Latiff Ssebaggala who warned that taxpayers are bound to lose billions if government proceeds to buy the land from Byaruhanga.
Sebaggala took to the floor of Parliament requesting both the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga and Rugunda to confront Byaruhanga, saying that officials from the Ministry of Finance were planning to award Byaruhanga’s Pine Investments Co, a contract to sale land for the construction of headquarters AfroExim Bank.
“We are likely to lose tax payer’s money, the land which they are putting pressure that Government buys was part of Nakasero Primary School land and it was taken under unclear circumstances and they are selling it back to Government,” Ssebaggala said.
This comes amidst media reports that a whistleblower petitioned Speaker Rebecca Kadaga on grounds that Pine Investments Co, was being fronted to win the contract to sell three acres of land to the Ministry of Finance to construct headquarters of Afro Exim bank in Uganda.
This was after officials of Afro Exim Bank approached President Yoweri Museveni with a proposal to build a bank in Uganda, a proposal the president welcomed with a conditionality for the bank to establish its headquarters in Uganda.
Four companies are said to have expressed interest in selling land including; Pine Investments Co which offered 2.2 acres near Nakasero Primary School at $4 million (about Shs14.676 billion) per acre, Vara Enterprise offered 2.4 acres in Bugolobi with the company settling for $3.1 million (about Shs11.366 billion). SGL proposed three acres at Kololo Lugogo bypass at $2.7 million (about Shs 9.896 billion).
Kadaga asked the Prime Minister to assure the country that government won’t be duped into buying the land whose ownership is under contention.
“That is a serious allegation if it is true if the land being sold is actually government land at an exorbitant price and possibly involving a member of your cabinet cost. Can you undertake that nothing shall happen, that government will not be forced to buy that land before you come back to this house,” Kadaga said.