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Nakawa Estate developers named

By Vision Reporter

Added 16th July 2009 03:00 AM

THE Uganda Land Commission has named seven private developers who were allocated most of Nakawa housing estate, despite a Cabinet instruction that a caveat be placed on the plot.

THE Uganda Land Commission has named seven private developers who were allocated most of Nakawa housing estate, despite a Cabinet instruction that a caveat be placed on the plot.

By Mary Karugaba

THE Uganda Land Commission has named seven private developers who were allocated most of Nakawa housing estate, despite a Cabinet instruction that a caveat be placed on the plot.

In a stormy meeting with the parliamentary committee on public accounts, the secretary, Kintu Mubbala, presented a list showing that 47.8 acres out of the 54 acres had already been carved out of Nakawa estate and given to developers.

Most of the estate, as well as the neighbouring Naguru estate, had earlier been leased to a British company, Opec Prime Properties, which won an international competitive tender to redevelop the place into an ultra-modern satellite town.

In Parliament yesterday, Mubbala named the other developers as Abner Besigye, the assistant town clerk of Nakawa division, who was given 0.87 acres, the Islamic University in Uganda (10 acres), the national library (two acres) and CTM, owned by three brothers, Grey, Timothy and Gerald Katusabe (six acres).

In addition, he announced that six acres had been leased to William Nkemba, the acting treasurer of Villa Football Club, 10 acres to the House of Dawda Group, owned by Hasubhai Dawda, and 13 acres to Access Uganda.

The committee chairman, Nandala Mafabi, however, produced a letter dated January 23, 2008, in which lands minister Omara Atubo directed that another 10 acres be handed over to four other developers.

Atubo instructed the Land Commission to give Tropical Bank two acres, the Libyan Cultural Centre two acres, Swacof Intertrade two acres and Globeways four acres.

“As you are aware, we enjoy excellent relationship with Libya and it is in our interest for allocation and investment to take place,” Atubo said in the letter.
The secretary of the land commission, however, denied knowledge of any other developers allocated land on the directive of Atubo. “We don’t know those ones,” he said.

Mubbala had earlier refused to produce the list until the committee threatened to detain him.

“We want you to explain to the committee the laws that you used to allocate land that had already been allocated,” the committee chairman asked.

But Mubbala declined to respond, saying “that is not the query we had come to answer.”

Initially, President Yoweri Museveni and the Government agreed to give three plots of the Nakawa estate to three developers: the Islamic University in Uganda, the National Library and William Nkemba.

The Government in 2007 signed an agreement with Opec Prime Properties to redevelop the remainder of the Nakawa estate and the whole of the Naguru estate to replace the dilapidated and condemned houses.

The project, estimated to cost $300m (sh600b) for the construction of 5,000 housing units, was expected to begin in January 2008.

However, the project stalled when the Inspector General of Government stopped construction, questioning the procurement process. She said some ministers had influenced the process. Later, Opec Prime Properties threatened to sue the Government, citing breach of contract.

Appearing before the same committee, Kashaka Muhanguzi, the permanent secretary of the ministry of local Government, said the land commission allocated additional plots after the Cabinet had directed that a caveat be lodged.

Muhanguzi said Opec Prime Properties had raised a complaint with the ministry that their land had been reallocated to other developers.

“The then minister, Kahinda Otafiire, wrote to the lands minister expressing concern over the matter. We tried to communicate but nothing was done,” he said.

The MPs agreed that the commission should appear again next week to answer why they allocated land that belonged to another developer.

Meanwhile, The New Vision has learned that the land commission in a July 6 letter to Opec Prime Properties said they agreed “in principle” to lease them the land at Naguru.

“Your application to lease land in Nakawa was deferred because the land had already been leased to other developers,” the letter read.

Sources said the President in a letter to the investment minister last week queried why the redevelopment by Opec Prime Properties had not yet taken off.

Nakawa Estate developers named

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