14 November 2018

Uganda: IGG Goes After Officials for Selling Health Centre Land

Mubende — The deputy Inspector General of Government (IGG), Ms Mariam Wangadya, has directed Mubende District officials to take disciplinary action against three of their staff implicated in giving away a piece of land belonging to a health centre without following proper procedures.

This followed a dispute raised by a section of Kibalinga Sub-county councillors opposed to the giveaway of part of Kibalinga Health Centre III last year to a private developer.

Ms Flavia Rukundo Bahamire and other representatives for Persons with Disabilities, led a team that petitioned the IGG after finding excavators clearing the land without their knowledge.

Information submitted to the IGG indicates that the LCIII chairperson of Kibalinga, Mr Venansius Mbonye, and Mr Julius Matovu, the former Kibalinga Sub-county chief, entered into an agreement with Mr John Twahirwa, a businessman in Mubende Town, to allow him utilise part of the health centre land without the council approval. The health centre is on the Mubende -Fort Portal highway, about 11km from Mubende Town.

In a September 26 letter to Ms Lillian Nakamatte, the chief administrative officer of Mubende District, Ms Wangadya said her investigations had revealed that the land was wrongly parcelled out to Mr Twahirwa.

"The signing of the private-public partnership (PPP) agreement was irregular in that it was not done in line with the principles of the Public Private Partnership Act 2015, the Land Act and Regulation 16 of the Land Regulations, 2004. In addition, 15 of the 17 sub-county councillors were opposed to the lease," Ms Wangadya said in a three-page letter.

She directed the district service commission to take appropriate disciplinary action against Mr Matovu and Mr Emmanuel Ssempala, the acting deputy chief administrative officer for irregularly leasing out public land.

In the same letter, Ms Wangadya also instructed the district speaker, Mr William Museveni, to ensure that the district council takes appropriate disciplinary action against Mr Mbonye, for irregularly leasing out government land.

She further instructed the district officials to inform her office of the action taken within 60 days.

"Immediately cause the cancellation of the illegal private public partnership agreement signed with M/S Mubende Agro Supply and Processor Limited and regularise it following the right procedure," the same IGG letter read in part.

Ms Wangadya stressed that during investigations, her team discovered that Mubende District was the registered proprietor of the land in question on Block 199, plots 242 and 243 at Lusasira Ward, Buwekula County, with freehold title issued on June 28, 2017 and measuring 4.6690 hectares.

Background

According to documents seen by this newspaper, an agreement cementing the deal was signed on July 31, 2017, between Mr Twahirwa's lawyer, JK Ssewanyana and Kibalinga Sub-county officials. In March this year, Mr Twahirwa said he legally acquired the land after applying to the sub-county chief's office expressing interest to develop it.

"Our request was granted and we later entered into a memorandum of understanding with the sub-county which now gives us the mandate to use the land. In case of any grievances, let them be handled by the sub-county because for us we passed through the proper channels," Mr Twahirwa said.

He added: "I paid Shs3m as premium and I will be paying annual nominal ground rent to the sub-county for the next 49 years of my lease."

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