Breaking

Budget Committee Suspends Land Fund over Transparency

The ministry of lands has in the past noted that the Land Fund requires an annual allocation of 170 billion Shillings for ten years or a one-off of 1.7 trillion Shillings to compensate over 6,000 claimants.
Parliament Budget Committee Chairperson Amos Lugoloobi.

Audio 6

The budget committee of Parliament has directed the Uganda Land Commission to halt financial releases to the Land Fund until there is proof of transparency in the verification and compensation of beneficiaries. 

The decision came after Buikwe South MP David Mutebi asked the physical infrastructure committee chairperson Robert Ssekitoleeko to table details about the beneficiaries of the Fund. Ssekitoleeko was presenting a report of the physical infrastructure committee on the 2020/2021 National Budget Framework Paper. The committee had recommended that an extra 129 billion Shillings be allocated to the Land Fund next financial year. 

According to the report, the Fund requires 168.3 billion Shillings annually but it has been allocated a paltry 39.3 billion in the financial year 2020/2021, the same amount it received last year. The ministry of lands has in the past noted that the Land Fund requires an annual allocation of 170 billion Shillings for ten years or a one-off of 1.7 trillion Shillings to compensate over 6,000 claimants. 

However, Mutebi says that there is a need to dig up the list of beneficiaries because details of some of them are questionable.

//Cue in; "This money has...  

Cue out...of this money."//   

Ssekitoleeko tabled a list of beneficiaries from the lands ministry but said that the list was devoid of critical details such as the location of people who were compensated in the 2018/2019 financial year.   

The List shows that the Land Fund received 36 billion Shillings and compensated 69 beneficiaries in the during the year.  Among the beneficiaries of the fund are the Registered trustees of Kampala Archdiocese that received 7.9 billion Shillings, Matthew Gureme, one billion Shillings and Deborah Kakiiza Winifred who received 200 million Shillings.   

Budget committee chairperson Amos Lugoloobi said that the committee found out that most of the beneficiaries were from Western Uganda, yet there are land wrangles and evictions across the country.      

//Cue in; "Mr Chairman, I ...   

Cue out...they were encroachers."//   

Dokolo woman MP, Cecilia Ogwal said that the Lands Ministry should submit a utilization report of the Land Fund for the last three financial years, to track the progress of compensation and thereafter ask the Auditor General to conduct a forensic audit on the Land Fund. 

Lugoloobi, however, disagreed, adding that it is better to suspend the Fund and demand accountability.  

//Cue in; "I was proposing... 

Cue out...with that recommendation."//    

Meanwhile, Kasese Woman MP, Winfred Kiiza advised the budget committee to take interest in the Land Fund because some people benefited even after encroaching on government land. 

//Cue in; "It will be...   

Cue out...or in government."//    

Ssekitoleeko also noted that the lands ministry has not submitted the utilization report yet it was a directive from the physical infrastructure committee.   

//Cue in; '"Their utilization report...

Cue out...are dealt with."//   

Lugoloobi says that until the issue is discussed and disposed of, the Land Fund will remain suspended.

Images 1

Keywords