In 2011, Tirupati bought over 4 square miles of land from Charles Musisi, a landlord in Nakasongola to grow sugarcane.
Tirupati Development Company, an Asian owned investment firm is seeking compensation from government over a botched sugarcane project in Lwabyata Sub County in Nakasongola district. In 2011, Tirupati bought over 4 square miles of land from Charles Musisi, a local businessman in Nakasongola to grow sugarcane. However, the land transaction drew protests from more than 20,000 occupants on the land, who called for the intervention of President Yoweri Museveni to stop their eviction. In April 2012, Museveni ordered the investor to back off the land saying the project would lead to the displacement of hundreds of people.
Now, Harshad Barot, the managing director Tirupati Development Company has written to Amelia Kyambadde, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives and Attorney General Peter Nyombi seeking compensation. In his 16th August letter obtained by URN, Barot says that due to protests and lack of good will from residents, his company has officially withdrawn from the project, adding that they are willing to handover the land titles to central government.
He now wants government compensate his company the money they spent to buy the land, time lost and other expenses they have incurred as a result of cancelling the project. Barot however, does not specify how much money his company is seeking in compensation from government. James Wandira, the Nakasongola LC V chairperson says that President Yoweri Museveni has formed a committee led by the attorney general to look into the demands of the company.
But some of the local leaders in Nakasongola are opposed to the demands of the company for compensation saying that the investors bought the land well knowing that there was no space for sugarcane growing. David Masereka, the Nakasongola Resident District Commissioner accuses the management of Tirupati of lying to the president.
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Margaret Kisaakye Nakalyango, the Nakasongola District Woman councilor says many investors deliberately enter unviable projects and turn around to demand compensation from government. She advises government to instead spend money to address key areas affecting citizens instead of compensating investors with failed projects.
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James Mwebe, a tenant on the disputed land wants government to arrest Charles Musisi to refund the money he acquired from selling the land instead of wasting tax payer’s money to compensate the investor.
Issa Zziwa, another tenant says that if the government insists on compensating the investor, they should surrender land titles to the residents who are occupying the land.
tirupati development (u) limited
minister of trade
nakasongola resident district commissioner