Judge Declines to Hand Over ULC Office

2066 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Mugumya could not provide the documented evidence because according to him the former Undersecretary now Judge went with the safe’s keys and has never handed over the keys to him. He adds that he was told that Justice Henry Isabirye Kawesa said that he was not the right Undersecretary to whom the keys should be given.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) heard on Thursday that Justice Henry Isabirye Kawesa is still in possession of office keys containing vital documents in the Uganda Land Commission (ULC).
 
Justice Kawesa, the current resident Judge Mbale High Court, is said to have participated in the purchase of land belonging to the Ministry of Defence by the commission but went away with the office keys.
 
This was revealed by the current Undersecretary at the Commission Albert Mugumya while making submissions on why they doubled pay for land bought for the Ministry of Defence in Mutungo.
 
The Auditor General’s report ending June 2012 notes that the 4.49 hectares of land in Mutungo, a Kampala suburb, was bought at 2.4 billion shillings instead of the initial value of 1.1 billion shs.
 
Mugumya, when asked by Paul Mwiru the Vice chairman of the committee why the land was bought, said that the request was made for the land to be bought for security reasons.
 
According to Article 119 of the constitution prior to acquisition of the land, the Government valuer values the land and the Uganda Land Commission enters into a contract with the land lord after obtaining the Solicitor General’s consent.
 
However, a review of the file for the acquisition comprised in block 237 plots 29,48,56,59 and 76 from Muhammed Buwule by Uganda Land Commission revealed that, the chief government valuer’s report of 17th September 2004 valued the land at 1.1 billion shs.

However, according to a sales agreement made on the 11th September 2008 the Commission acquired the land at a cost of 2.4 billion shillings and no explanation was given for the deviation.
 
Mugumya stated that due to the strategic security importance of the land in question, a government committee was established and mandated to negotiate with Buwule for the purchase of the land. The committee consisted of the President’s office, Uganda Land Commission and Commissioners which arrived at 2.4 billion after negotiations.
 
However Mugumya could not provide the documented evidence because according to him the former Undersecretary now Judge went with the safe’s keys and has never handed over the keys to him. He adds that he was told that Justice Henry Isabirye Kawesa said that he was not the right Undersecretary to whom the keys should be given.
 
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The commission officials however could not readily reveal who between the land commission and the ministry of Defence paid for the land saying they need to access the minutes of the government committee to establish the payer.

However, PAC chairperson says it’s unfortunate that even the said land is not being occupied by members of the Defence Ministry to which MP Musinguzi interested the committee to visit.
 
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In addition the Auditor General reveals that there is no land title and the ownership of the land was also the subject of a further dispute. The matter was before court.
 
Baker Mugaino secretary Uganda Land Commission in response stated that the land titles are available for verification though they could have been locked up in the office by Justice Kawesa.
 
Saleh Kamba MP kibuku County wondered how the land commission could buy land in 2008 yet there is a court case since 2003 and already caveated.
 
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