State House, Land Lord Row Over Tenancy Agreement

3017 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
A row has emerged between State House and the owner of Okello House over the currency in which the latter should pay rent bills. While Alexander Okello, the owner of the five-storey building wants to be paid in Dollars for the facility, State House insists it has to pay in Uganda Shillings.

A row has emerged between State House and the owner of Okello House over the currency in which the latter should pay rent bills.
Okello House, a  five-storey building at Nakasero Hill in Kampala, is owned by businessman Alexander Okello and it is rented by government to house some attached to State House.
Okello wants to be paid in Dollars for the facility while State House insists it has to pay in Uganda Shillings.
State House's tenancy agreement expired in October 2016 and it has not been renewed with Okello declining to sign the already drafted agreement with money indicated in Uganda Shillings.
Lucy Nakyobe Mbonye, the State House Comptroller described Okello as being stubborn saying that the finance ministry directed all government entities not to pay service providers in Dollars.
//Cue in: "We need to...                
Cue out:...stubborn."//
Nakyobe revealed that the new proposed tenancy agreement to Okello indicates 113.7 million Shillings as rent per month. She was appearing before Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to answer audit queries for the year ended June 2014 and June 2015.
This is not the first time State House is in a disagreement with their land lord. In his June 2015 report, Auditor General John Muwanga queried the continued occupancy of State House at Okello House even when their tenancy agreement had expired in 2013.
The auditor general observed that rent arrears amounting to 1.27 billion Shillings had accumulated.
Nakyobe noted that at the time of audit, the money had not been paid since there was a subject of mortgage dispute between Standard Chartered Bank and Okello - the borrower.
She said that the bank was claiming responsibility of the premises in accordance with provisions of the mortgage agreement.
Nakyobe however noted that the two parties later resolved their dispute and a new tenancy agreement was signed upon which payments have since been made.
//Cue in: "They kept on...
Cue out:...also expired."//
Legislators sitting on PAC led by Lwemiyaga County MP Theodore Ssekikubo said it was good for State House to experience the wrath of land lords noting that for long issues being raised by traders on payments in Dollars have been ignored.
//Cue in: "You see...
Cue out:...Dollars."//
Buliisa County MP Stephen Mukitale questioned why State House continues to rent for over 19 years yet it is now a government policy for government entities to own homes.
//Cue in: "Of the...
Cue out:...these years."//
Nakyobe said that State House has land in Entebbe and that because of procurement delays by the works ministry, money to kick start construction was taken back to the treasury.
//Cue in: "We do not...
Cue back."//


About the author

Olive Nakatudde
Olive Nakatudde is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Nakatudde has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Nakatudde started out in journalism in 2009 with Dembe FM radio in Kampala. In 2012, Nakatudde joined Voice of Africa as a political reporter. She has been a photographer since her journalism school days at Makerere University.

Nakatudde is interested in good governance and public policy, which she reports on intensively from the Uganda Parliament. She is a keen follower of cultural affairs in Buganda Kingdom and covers the kingdom's Lukiiko (parliament). Nakatudde also reports on education and health.