The land probe commission is querying how the Administrator General sold a prime square mile in Garuga, Wakiso district without consent of the beneficiaries of an estate.
On Monday, the commission commenced inquiry into the sale of the land of the estate of Daudi Kasimbazi, near the Lake Victoria shores. Kasimbazi died November 8, 1959.
A grandson, Caster Ssemwogerere, testified at the public hearing in Kampala. He purported that huge chunks of the land were sold to veteran dental practitioner Dr. George William Ssamula and Maj Gen (Rtd) Benon Biraro.
“The genesis of our complaint is when the Administrator General started selling the land. We, the beneficiaries, do not know on what basis he did that,” said Ssemwogerere.
Deputy lead counsel John Bosco Suuza, explained that the commission is curious as to why the Administrator General applied and was granted letters of administration
The witness said Kasimbazi was gifted the land by Ssekabaka Sir Edward Mutesa II for his friendship, and being a World War II veteran who did Buganda proud.
Ssemwogerere claimed the Administrator General peddled a suspicious document, to the effect that it was Kasimbazi’s Will. He lamented that his grandfather had 12
children but the list omitted some of them.
Documents dated October 19, 2016, show an acknowledgement by Administrator General's office that three of the beneficiaries requested that part of the land be sold.
But Suuza observed that it is requisite that land sale by the Administrator General, is endorsed by all beneficiaries, or done in the beneficiaries best interests.
The witness stated that when the family petitioned the Administrator General in a letter dated September 16, 2016, the response was that the land sale had been permitted.
Ssemwogerere stated that when the family went to the land office to seek redress, the then commissioner general land registration Sarah Kulata, informed them that
the Administrator General had blessed the land transaction.
The Administrator General, Biraro, Ssamula, and Kulata are included on the schedule of witnesses.
Commission fact file
On December 8, 2016, President Yoweri Museveni appointed a seven-member commission of inquiry chaired by Court of Appeal Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, to inquire into land matters.
This was prompted by several documented instances of public outcry. The team took oath on February 19, 2017, with mandate to inquire into the effectiveness of law, policies and processes of land acquisition, land administration, land management and land registration.
Subsequently, public hearings commenced on May 9, 2017 at National Archives and Records Centre in the city suburb of Nakasero.
On November 10, 2017, the President extended the probe’s mandate for six months. Last year on May 4, 2018, Museveni endorsed an 18-month extension of the probe.
The probe commissioners are Frederick Ruhindi, Dr Rose Nakayi, Mary Ochan, Robert Ssebunnya, Joyce Habaasa and George Bagonza.
Deputy lead counsel is John Bosco Suuza, while Andrew Odiit is assistant lead counsel.
Dr Douglas Singiza is commission secretary, while Daniel Rutiba is deputy secretary.