The Lands Probe Commission has ordered for the arrest of a Jinja-based private surveyor, David Pande for stealing government land. The Justice Bamugmereire Commission spent Thursday afternoon grilling Pande for having portioned off part of the land he had been instructed to survey to himself.
The Lands Probe Commission has ordered for the arrest of a Jinja-based private surveyor, David Pande for stealing government land.
The Justice Bamugmereire Commission spent Thursday afternoon grilling Pande for having portioned off part of the land he had been instructed to survey to himself.
The Commission discovered that Pande, a surveyor from Survcon, created a twenty-acre plot to himself and later sold it at 160 million Shillings to Favourite Enterprises belonging to an Indian investor only identified as Haresh.
Pande, acting contrary to the Constitution and the Land Act, reportedly went ahead to convince the Jinja District Land Board to process a freehold title for Favourite Enterprises.
The Commission possessed documentary evidence that Pande had earlier tried to acquire a freehold title for himself but when the Uganda Land Commission rejected it, he resorted to the district Land Board in Jinja.
Pande claimed that he owned the land customarily having purchased it from a one Waira in 1995 which turned out to be false. He claimed that when he was selling the land he passed on his customary rights.
The disputed land located in Butembe in Jinja district had been allocated to National Fisheries Resources Research Institute (NaFRRI) after it had lost its land to the Civil Service College in Jinja.
NaFRRI Director, Anthony Taabu Munyaho, said the land belonging to Uganda Land Commission was supposed to be compensation for land taken over by the Civil Service College in Jinja Municipality.
Munyaho said they discovered that the same land was being claimed by an investor when Fisheries Institute tried to survey it.
Pande throughout the afternoon still insisted that the land was his customarily.
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Commissioners Fredrick Ruhindi, Mary Oduka Ochan, Joyce Habasa and Justice Bamugemereire had warned Pande of the likely consequences of telling lies on oath but he continued giving contradictory statements.
Pande later asked to be forgiven when he realised that Justice Bamugemereire was getting tougher. It was at that moment that Bamugemereire ordered a court orderly to take him out.
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The offence of perjury which involves telling lies under oath has a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment.
The commission has since been hearing complaints about surveyors like Pande who deliberately encroach on customers' land by creating what is technically known as residues.
The surveyors then process titles in their names after cheating unsuspecting clients.
Dr. Yafesi Okia, an Assistant Commissioner in the Survey and Mapping Department, confirmed that Pande created the residues from Wairaka Technical College and Wairaka Farm School in 2009 when Jinja district asked him to survey that land.
He sold the land to the Indian investor in 2012 after he had failed to secure freehold land title from Uganda Land Commission.