“How can the sale and transfer of land take place within 14 minutes? Is this the time land transfer transactions take in Uganda?” MP Thomas Tayebwa asked.
PIC: The Administrator of Aqua Uganda Ltd, Henry Sentongo (right) and the company lawyer Joash Mayanja Nkangi leave after the Natural Resources Committee of Parliament directed the company to stop sand mining from the shores of Lake Victoria at Parliament on October18, 2016. Photos by Kennedy Oryema
Former Lands Commission Chairman Mayanja Nkangi yesterday had hard time explaining how he transferred part of his land in Lwera within minutes.
According to the MPs, Mayanja owns huge chunk of mailo land in Lwera where companies and individuals are currently mining sand. Part of the land was sold to Pastor Samuel Kakande of Synagogue Church of all Nations and businessman John Ssebalamu.
During the Committee meeting, the members discovered that Mayanja took only 14 minutes to register and transfer land to Kakande and 10 minutes to Ssebalamu.
"How can the sale and transfer of land take place within 14 minutes? Is this the time land transfer transactions take in Uganda?" MP Thomas Tayebwa asked.
Committee chairperson Alex Byarugaba asked Mayanja whether the transactions took place when he was still chairman Lands Commission.
Nkangi, who had appeared to the committee as counsel to Pastor Kakande told the MPs that he owned the mailo land legally and sold part of it to Kakande. "When I received my money, I lost all the interest on the land. Whatever went on later, please ask the pastor," he said forgetting that he had been given the powers of the attorney to defend Kakande.
The Committee suspended the meeting saying they had received enough information from the officials to write a report for Parliament.
On illegal sand mining in Lwera by Aqua World, Kakande's company, the lawyers admitted mining sand in the protected area of Lake Victoria and apologized for the anomaly.
They told the committee that they were not aware that their mining activities had gone beyond the permitted area on the lake shores due to the raising water levels.
One of the lawyers Bernard Mutyaba attributed the problem to construction of dams on river Nile in Jinja, making it difficult to trace the protected area mark of 200m from the lake shore.
"We admit that we have been carrying out activities in the protected area but that was because of the raising water levels. We acknowledge the anomalies and we apologize. We are willing to rectify any mistakes that we might have made in the course of carrying out our activities," Mutyaba said.
This was after the MPs accused Aqua World, a company owned by Pastor Kakande of illegally mining sand, rearing fish and growing rice in a protected area on the shores of Lake Victoria, depleting the environment.
The MPs also accused the company of excavating sand prior to carrying out environmental impact assessment. The MPs further said after touring the site, it was observed that that the company disregarded NEMA's certificate of approval that requires a distance of 200m from the low water mark to be left intact.
Although the committee had summoned Pastor Kakande to appear in person, he sent his lawyers and gave them the powers of attorney to represent and defend him on any allegations made against the company.
During the meeting, the lawyers informed the MPs that although they sought for legal advice from National Environment and Management Authority (NEMA) to mine the sand, the Authority just gave them an addendum to the original permit without any questions.
The committee later directed the company to stop mining sand in the area until they get permission from NEMA.