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Lands Commission on the spot over land allocation to investors

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Members of Parliament are investigating circumstances under which the Uganda Lands Commission (ULC) allocated Uganda Railways Land in Nsambya to investors in excess of what was to be given.

The Committee on Commissions Statutory Authority and State Enterprise (COSASE) chaired by Hon. Joel Ssenyonyi is probing the sale and giveaway of several estates belonging to the Uganda Railways Corporation (URC).

In 2010, as a measure to compensate investors who had missed out on the Nakawa-Naguru land for development, President Museveni directed that Uganda Railways transfers 57 acres of their Nsambya land to Uganda Land Commission which would intern allocate it to investors. However, although cabinet approved the allocation of 32 acres to the different investors, the Uganda Land Commission allocated 62 acres.

Some of the investors include, Janet Kobusingye the owner of Mestil Hotel, Charles Kimera, Islamic University, Alumus Properties, M/S Fairplay Services Ltd and Kampala International University. Others are, House of Dawda, CTM Uganda Limited, Access Uganda Limited and Yas Company.

landThe land stretches from Mukwano Factory up to Mestil Hotel and parts of it are in Kibuli.

As the Committee interacted with the Commission on Tuesday, 23 November 2021, members discovered discrepancies in the size of land allocated to the investors compared the one approved by Cabinet.

Ssenyonyi says that the main concern is on why the Commission gave out more land than was approved by Government.

“There is a cabinet directive saying give out 32.2 acres, but the amount of land that was given out was over 62.2 acres. How did this happen, who gave out the other directive to give out the other acres of land?” Ssenyonyi asked.

Rukiga County MP, Hon. Roland Ndyomugyenyi questioned how cabinet can approve something different, but the commission also ends up allocating a different acreage.

“Maybe there is land that we do not know about. There must be something wrong about the exact acreage. You cannot have a directive of 32 acres in Naguru and then you give out close to 70 acres,” Ndyomugyenzi said.

Hon. Richard Ssebamala (DP, Bukoto Central), demanded that the Uganda Land Commission should bring the mother title of the Railways land in Nsambya and Kibuli, the new partition and how the acreage was distributed.

“We need the main title of the land before it was partitioned; we also need to know how you decided on the acreage,” Ssebamala said.

However, the Secretary ULC Barbara Imaryo said they did not know how this happened and would need to go back and see how it happened.
“I would like to beg your indulgence that this was a decision of the commission, we are requesting for some more time to go back and verify,” Imaryo said.

Ssenyonyi asked the commission to bring documents clarifying to discrepancies in the amounts of the land allocated. He also demanded for the original letters and directives of the President be brought to the committee by next week.

Meanwhile the committee also discovered that businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba’s Kampala International University (KIU) and other two firms were allocated part of the land without any clear procedure.
“How Kampala International University of businessman Hassan Bassajjabalaba acquires 14 acres yet it was not part of the Private local investors who were listed to be given land is questionable” Ndyomugyenyi said.

He says that KIU was not among the people to be allocated land in the cabinet directive of the 13 investors approved.

However the commission said that they acted on a presidential directive of 29th September 2010 which ordered them to allocate Basajjabalaba’s University with 20 acres to cater for University expansion, but they only had 14 acres left.

The committee also questioned why although KIU paid a premium of 675 million shillings and annual ground rent of 34 million shillings the development in the area was a shopping mall.

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