Uganda: Government Has Title for Lubowa Hospital Land - Muhakanizi

Kampala — Government fully owns the land in Lubowa, Wakiso District, where an International Specialised Hospital is to be constructed, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry of Finance has said.

Speaking at a press conference in Kampala yesterday, Mr Keith Muhakanizi said the title for the land is in the names of the Ministry of Health.

Mr Muhakanizi said the land was legally acquired by government and given to the Joint Clinical Research Centre, a portion of which has been transferred to the MOH.

This is despite an ongoing dispute in the Land Division of the High Court where the family of the late Buganda prince, Yusuf Suuna Kiweewa, claims he was the lawful owner of the land, having obtained it pursuant to the 1900 Buganda agreement.

But Mr Muhakanizi insisted that the land belongs to the government.

"Should there be issues on the land, government will sort it out. But for now, government has a firm title as confirmed by the Ministry of Health," he said.

Early this month, Parliament approved the construction of the specialised hospital amid opposition from a section of MPs.

Government seeks to borrow $379.7m (Shs1.3 trillion) for the hospital, an amount sections of the public say is too expensive for the taxpayer.

Project cost

Mr Muhakanizi said there is value for money, adding that the project cost is $249m, inclusive of a 264-bed hospital, an 82-room budget hotel, a 500-seater conference hall, a health training school and staff housing.

"The additional $129.81m represents the time value of money or interest cost of payment that government has to incur as a result of repaying FINASI-ROKO Construction over six years. This $129.71m represents an effective interest of 6.49 per cent," he said.

Mr Muhakanizi also said the hospital will be managed for eight years after construction by the International Specialised hospital of Uganda Ltd, which is owned FINASI International Group which is partnering with Pope John the 23rd Hospital in Baergamo.

In a March 25 notice of interest in disputed land to the managing director of Finasi-Roko Construction SPV Ltd, the administrators of the land state that their great grandfather, the late Omulangira Yusuf Suuna Kiweewa was the lawful owner of the land having obtained it pursuant to the 1900 Buganda agreement.

The notice was addressed to the managing Director of Finasi-Roko Construction SPV Limited and copied to the Attorney General.

Court documents show that in 2015, the administrators of the late Prince Suuna sued five companies jointly with the Attorney General over alleged perpetuation of fraud in connection with illegal acquisition of 1834.143-acre piece of land at Lubowa.

The complainants state that the late Prince nor the administration of his estate ever effected any transfer to the successive purported transferees, including the current registered owner of block 296 plot 2772.

The land case

In court, the Uganda Company Holdings Limited, the National Housing and Construction Corporation Ltd (NHCC), National Social Security Fund (NSSF), Mitchell Cotts Uganda Limited and Roofings Limited are accused of acquiring land through fraudulent registration.

It is alleged that the Uganda Company Holdings used forged documents to bring itself on the title and issued fraudulent title deeds to members of the public while NHCC allegedly obtained a title on an unsurveyed land and colluded with the registrars to be registered as a proprietor. Court documents indicate that NSSF purports to have bought 87 acres from NHCC in 2003 but it is currently claiming for 565 acres at Lubowa Estate.

It is alleged that Roofings Ltd purported to have purchased land measuring seven acres but ended up claiming large tracts to which it does not have a lawful title.

Mr Robert Friday Kagoro, one of the lawyers in the case, said the case is pending hearing and determination by court.

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