Several acres of land belonging to Kabarole district local government have been leased off or sold illegally, affecting district activities. Records at the district lands department indicate that 45 acres of land in different parts of the district have been sold off in transactions that appear to be fraudulent.
Records at the district lands department indicate that 45 acres of land in different parts of the district have been sold in transactions that appear to be fraudulent. Some of the pieces of the land are located in Fort Portal and others in rural areas.
In May, plots 14 and 16 located at Kagote in West Division, Fort Portal Municipality, were leased to Airtel by one Fred Kagaba, a businessman in Fort Portal. Airtel started constructing a road through peoples land leading to the hill top, where a telephone mast was constructed last month.
The district was planning to set up a demonstration garden under the Proper Banana Management Plan and Best Practices Project, but the project stalled after the mast was constructed.
In April this year, two pieces of land in Kibiito town council Bunyangabu district were sold off to a private developer under unclear circumstances. The land was fenced off and a permanent house is being erected on part of the land.
Peter Alinda, the Kabarole district lands officer says that they are investigating the sale and leasing of the district land without following the right procedures. According to Alinda, there is a possibility that some employees at the district lands department are involved in illegal land transactions.
Alinda, who showed Uganda Radio Network documents and survey plans of the sold and leased land, says the district has written to the Inspector General of Government (IGG) to investigate the illegal land transactions in the district.
Patrick Musiime, the Western regional IGG officer, confirmed he is investigating the cases, but refused to divulge details. He says the report will soon be handed over to the district authorities for action to be taken.
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Angela Byangwa, the coordinator Rwenzori Ant-Corruption Coalition, which has been at the forefront demanding the return of district land, says they want the IGG to expedite the investigations and have the land returned to the district.
However, Byangwa blames the district for failing to utilize its land. She says people are taking advantage of the land being idle to encroach on or sell it.
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Steven Rwabuhinga, a resident of Kagote says some of the private developers have also encroached on people’s property. He also blames the district for waiting for the developers to set up structures before claiming the land.