By Henry Sekanjako
The Ministry of defence is in the spotlight over Lugazi University land, after it emerged that the ministry is yet to transfer ownership of the land to the ministry.
The title of the land in question is reported to still be in the names of Alfred Higenyi the former owner of Lugazi University and a one lady only identified only as Nantale K.
It was also found out that even as the ministry had paid for the entire 175 acres of land, it had only accessed 99 acres leaving a balance of 76 acres.
The ministry acquired land and buildings of Lugazi University at Sh 13.5billion from Lugazi University board of trustees in 2010.
However, according to the auditor general’s report for the year ended June 30 2010/2011, the ministry has not accessed the 175 acres. The report also noted that land title was not in the Vendor’s (Lugazi University) names.
In the report, the auditor general noted that, the draft sales agreement between the vendor and the ministry of defense didn’t include movable property which was valued later by a valuer agreed upon by both parties.
“These items are now being engraved by ministry of defense but there was no stock taking undertaken and no value had been agreed upon by the vendor and ministry,” the auditor general stated in the report.
However appearing before the Parliament’s public accounts committee (PAC) yesterday, the undersecretary finance and administration ministry of defense Edith Buturo said moveable items such as furniture and text books were not included in the sales agreement since the ministry had only purchased land and buildings.
Buturo also attributed the delay to acquire the rest of the acres of the land as bought by the ministry to partial payments to the vendor who she said had declined to release the land title until completion of the Sh 13.5b agreed upon by both parties.
“Initially, the vendor surrendered five land titles comprised in plot 88,plot 116, plot 117, plot 119 and plot 120, totaling to 106 acres . This was after being paid the first installment. He later surrounded titles for plots 180, and 228 totaling to 69 acres, the ministry therefor has secured all the titles for the land purchased and we have full access to all the land in question,” she clarified.
Buturo was responding to the queries raised in the auditor general’s report.
The committee chaired by Paul Mwiru deputy chairman PAC, however told Buturo, that the ministry had paid for 7 acres less out of the 175 acres of land paid for.
The committee also expressed concern that government would lose out on the land if it had not transferred the land title into the names of the ministry.
Buturo however explained that; “we paid for this land on the basis of the report from the government valuer and survey as a ministry we didn’t have the capacity to survey and valuer the land so we asked for assistance and we paid basing on their advice”.
She added that the ministry had embarked on the process of transferring the land title into the names of the ministry of defense saying it was delayed by the recent restructuring by the lands office.
The ministry has since taken over occupancy of the once Lugazi University premises, which have since been turned into Uganda military engineering college.