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Busega-Mityana Road Claimants Await UNRA Compensation Ten Years Later

Monday Buwembo, the Malangala Sub County LC III chairperson, who is also one of the claimants observes that after several engagements UNRA officials notified them that compensation of the fish ponds amounting to Shillings 380 million had been made.

Audio 4

More than 1000 people affected by the reconstruction and expansion of the 54km Busega-Mityana road stretch are still demanding compensation from Uganda National Roads Authority-UNRA for the property lost during the road works.

 

The Project Affected Persons-PAPs lost property in 2007 when government contracted Spencon Services Ltd together with Sterling Civil Engineers Ltd and Dott Services Ltd to construct two sections of the road at Shillings 84.5billion.

 

The project went across Wakiso, Mpigi and Mityana districts. After waiting for their compensation in vain, 400 aggrieved PAPs filed a civil suit against UNRA in 2013 hoping to receive a speedy and fair compensation.  They were later joined by 639 others

On July 20, 2016, the two parties consented and allowed court to appoint an expert to assess and verify all the complaints for subsequent compensation. The expert, Joseph Biribonwa, conducted the exercise and produced four reports on the land valuation, injurious affection, rock excavation and fish ponds.

 

The reports indicated that only 291 PAPs had been fully compensated monies amounting to Shillings 1.5billion. Biribonwa also found that the property of some of the residents wasn't plotted on the strip map.

 

Edward Mutebi, resident of Bukoma says when they demonstrated protesting the delayed compensation in 2013, UNRA officials told them that government had allocated close to Shillings 22billion to pay about 1,600 affected residents in the 2013/2014 Financial Year budget and asked them to prepare supporting documents showing ownership of the affected property to ease the process.

 

He says that although the charged residents kept their cool and prepared their documents, they waited for the compensation in vain.  Mutebi notes that the UNRA Executive Director, Allen Kagina signed a consent agreement promising to compensate them in vain.

 

//Cue in: "Kagina bweyajja yatugamba…

Cue out…tewali wadde ekikumi."//

Monday Buwembo, the Malangala Sub County LC III chairperson, who is also one of the claimants observes that after several engagements UNRA officials notified them that compensation of the fish ponds amounting to Shillings 380 million had been made. 

Buwembo says that they later learnt that UNRA had frozen their accounts prompting to drag UNRA and Stanbic Bank to court, which ordered the activation of their accounts but since then, no money has been deposited as promised.

//Cue in: "Kati tuyina n'abakyala…

Cue out…ate nga gw'okikoze."//

Buwembo notes that unless court compels UNRA to respect the consent agreement, the affected persons may never receive their compensation, adding that they are in process of filing mandamus seeking court to order UNRA to meet the terms agreed upon.

He says they are also considering reporting the matter to the Inspectorate of Government for investigations, saying they suspect their money to have been swindled by UNRA officials.

//Cue in: "Era ye mandamus… 

Cue out…compensated ba bicompensatinge."//

Teopista Nazziwa, another resident says during civil works on the road, a number of houses and property were destroyed, adding that many residents had to borrow money from banks to build new houses after being promised compensation by UNRA.

Nazziwa says since then, many residents have been imprisoned while others have lost their property to debtors for failure to service their loans.  Allan Ssempebwa, the UNRA media manager, says they are aware of the pending compensation claims on several completed road projects. 

He notes that some of the roads were handled by the previous UNRA management. Records indicate that there are several non-compensated cases on 19 road projects, which were completed seven years ago. 

They include Busega-Mityana, Hoima-Kaiso-Tonya, Mbarara-Bypass, Mbarara-Kabale-Katuna, Gayaza-Kalagi, Gulu-Atiak-Nimule, and Fort portal-Bundibugyo-Lamia and Kabale-Kisoro-Bunagana among others.

 

Ssempebwa says the incumbent UNRA management is working backwards to address the unresolved land grievances through the recently initiated backlog project.

//Cue in: "We have had…

Cue out…not stopped it"//

He however, notes that efforts to compensate some people have been frustrated by lack of supporting documents for the land ownership and wrangles. The recently completed Commission of Inquiry into the affairs of UNRA showed that Shillings 577billion had been embezzled through payments to ghost claimants and dubious land transactions during the process of land acquisitions for various roads projects over a period of seven years yet some of the PAPS never received any penny.