28 June 2013

Uganda: 'Convict Ex-NFA Bosses Over Namanve Land'

A court assessor has advised court to convict two former employees of National Forestry Authority (NFA) who were charged with fraudulent allocation of land in Namanve worth sh3b.

Sarah Namayanja advised the Anti- Corruption Court presided over by Justice David Wangutusi that prosecution has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.

Namayanja said the evidence on record indicates that the accused violated procurement regulations and depended on their decision to allocate the land.

Hudson Jackson Andrua and Michael Angol are facing charges of abused of office if convicted they are liable to 7 years imprisonment. They however denied the charges.

Namayanja justified her advice to convict the duo basing on the fact that documents that approved the land to Midland Holdings Limited to start operation had been duly signed by Andrua and Angol.

"This action was done without the knowledge and agreement of all the board members of National Forestry Authority (NFA) which was unlawful," Namayanja said.

Namayanja explained to court that much as the accused in their defence denied the allegation saying there was no proper procedures blocking the executive director to authorize the allocation, the fact that they did it single handedly, they acted unlawfully and should be held responsible.

"The board was to discuss the matter as a team and make a joint decision which was not done this is unlawful and an act of abuse of office. I therefore my lord advise this court to convicts the accused persons as charged,"Namayanja said.

Prosecution led by Robert Mackay said Andrua and Angol between September, 2010 and May2011 at the National Forestry Authority office in Kampala being employed as Acting Executive Director and Board Member respectively, abused their offices when they prepared and approved a grant of a license to Midland Holdings for use of 80 hectares of land in Namanve Central Forest Reserve.

They allegedly allocated the land without the Board approval and the procurement laws, regulations procedures and requirement. Midland Holdings had sought to develop the land into modern Housing and Shopping Mall.

Prosecution further said before the board could make a decision on the matter, Andrua convened a meeting to draft the license agreement between NFA and Miland Holdings eventually an agreement was signed, yet Andrua had no mandate to sign such agreement.

It is alleged that inspite of receiving a warning from the board chairman Buyinza Mugadasi not to proceed with the agreement, the accused ignored the advice.

Mackay argued that apart from non-approval by the board allocate the land to Mildland Holding; the all transaction was flawed without clearance from the Attorney General as required by the law. Justice Wagutusi adjourned the case to July17 for judgment.

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