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Parliament Clears Compensation of Ndeeba Church, Lusanja Land owners

The Adhoc committee on land compensation led by Veronica Eragu Bichetero has been investigating the compensation of property owners by the Ministry of Lands Housing and Urban Development in Bunyoro and Buganda regions.
The Archbishop at the site of the demolished church
Parliament has cleared the payment of 17.7 Billion Shillings to six landowners. 

The Adhoc committee on land compensation led by Veronica Eragu Bichetero has been investigating the compensation of property owners by the Ministry of Lands Housing and Urban Development in Bunyoro and Buganda regions.   

The investigations follow concerns raised by the Uganda Land Commission Chairperson Beatrice Byenkya that the Ministry had requested for a supplementary budget while ignoring the commission which is the custodian of Government land.   

Byenkya had also claimed that some people were already paid while others were overpaid forcing the Speaker to establish a probe committee.  

 

In a 56 page report presented on Tuesday before Parliament, the committee cleared six property owners for payment, rejecting two claimants Twaha Lwakaana for his property in Ketete, Koki in Rakai at 125 million and Julius Busuulwa’s claims of 1 billion for his 560 hectares of land.   

For Busuulwa, the committee notes that he had already been compensated at 2.2 billion shillings for the 560 hectares but was again claiming 1 billion shillings, while for Lwakaana he had been overpaid since he was demanding 1.175 Billion shillings for his 567.80 acres, but was paid 1.2 billion shillings.  The claimant had written to the Ministry of lands demanding 125 million shillings.        This means that Government will now pay only 17.7 billion shillings in compensation instead of the 19.6 billion earlier requested.      

The committee approved the payment of the four other claimants, after verifying them as genuine claims and establishing that due diligence had been done.

They are Stephen Peter Nagenda, for his property 500 acres in Namachumu, in Bugangaizi whose claims stood at 1 billion shillings.  

“The original claim as of 2015 was 600 million, but Government paid 140 million shillings, leaving an outstanding balance of 460 million. Upon delay to compensate him, the claimant went to court and the Government was ordered to pay the 460 million with a 20 % increase bringing it to one billion” Eragu told Parliament.  

For the property belonging to Kosia Rwabukurukuru of 864 hectares in Sheema district, the committee approved the compensation of 6.2 billion shillings since 3.2 billion was already paid. 

Others are; payment of 1.4 billion shillings for Geoffrey Mugisha for his land in Buyaga East, Kibaale, 1.5 billion for Namuli Nantalia for her property in Kibaale.   

For the land belonging to Ephraim Enterprises Limited that was occupied by St. Peter's Church Ndecba) measuring 2.061 acres, the committee recommended that 3.8 billion Shillings be paid to the owner since Government is in the process of acquiring it and constructing the church.     

The committee however says it received a request from the Buganda Kingdom signed by the Attorney General of the Kingdom stating that the Kingdom has an easement like a cultural heritage site known as "OLUZZI KALINDA" which is of great cultural importance sitting on the same land.     

 According to the Kingdom, the site is of great importance to the Kingdom in that it is from where water is drawn for the coronation ceremonies of the Buganda King, the Kabaka.      

“The Kingdom is now seeking to obtain an independent title for that part of the cultural heritage as indicated in a letter” the committee report reads.  

 For the Lusanja land of 3.89 hectares located in Kyadondo, Mengo belonging to Medard Kiconco that had seen 338 families evicted, the committee approved the allocation of 3.8 billion shillings.  

 The committee in their recommendations noted a conflict between the Ministry of Lands and Uganda Land Commission especially on the management of the Uganda Land Fund and even in the way a supplementary request is made.   

 They recommended that; a Supplementary Expenditure request should be initiated by the accounting officer of the spending entity as stipulated in the law and such requests should meet the criteria.     

 They also recommended that the Uganda Land Commission should secure funds to title all public land and all pieces of land held by the government in trust for the citizens of Uganda, and also that the Commission should maintain a clear data bank of all public land which is currently non-existent.

They also say that the commission should be involved in the land acquisition process. The report also calls for the fast-tracking of the land commission bill which would solve the issue of staffing.  

 The committee also recommended that a separate account for the land fund be opened to ensure that the funds are not mixed up with the commission funds.

Parliament adopted the committee's report.