ULC gives away school land to real estate firm
Aug 04, 2020
The future of 62-year-old Parvatiben Muljibhai Madhvani Girls' School, commonly known as PMM Girls' located in Jinja City, hangs in balance after the Uganda Land Commission (ULC) controversially allocated its land to a private investor.
The girls' school was founded by Madhvani Group of Companies in 1958 in memory of a Madhvani matriarch, Parvatiben, who died about 200 years ago.
The New Vision has learnt that ULC had allocated the school's land located on Plots 25-37 along Mvule Crescent in Jinja City to a real estate firm named Arkan Property Masters Limited.
New Vision has seen a letter written by Arkan's managing director, Masoud Mohammed, dated July 9, 2020 addressed to the chairperson of PMM Girls School, expressing their interest in developing the land.
"In May, 2019 while on a business trip in Jinja, we identified the above-described land, which is registered in the names of ULC and PMM as the user. We are interested in developing part of this land and also construct for the school a library and staff quarters on the remaining portion to accommodate your critical staff," Mohammed indicated.
The real estate firm proceeded to controversially subdivide the land into plots, which they now intend to sell to members of the public.
An official from the Madhvani Group noted that they had submitted several requests to the lands ministry for the property in question to be transferred to the school.
"We had partners who wanted to fully develop the school by constructing a playing field, library, dormitories and staff quarters on the remaining piece of land but then they wanted the title in the schools names but officials from ULC blocked our request," the official noted.
The official further noted their plans for developing the land had been approved.
On September 5, 2014, then chairperson of ULC Baguma Isoke, in his letter to the secretary of Jinja Land Board, blocked attempts by some commission members to attempt leasing the land.
"Please be informed that I have since been briefed by my staff that contrary to information the different applicants had presented to me, this land is actually registered under ULC and was reserved for use by PMM Girls. This implies that the land is not available for allocation and by consequence therefore, the aforementioned letter of August 11, 2014 is withdrawn," Isoke wrote.
New Vision has learnt that in February 2000, the ULC through one of its officials, a one Elizabeth, had approved the allocation of Plots 25-37 along Mvule Crescent in Jinja City under ULC Min. 2/99 (a) (04) of September 15, 1999.
"Please prepare a freehold title in the names of ULC to be held in trust for Jinja Girls Secondary School," Laker indicated.
On July 10, 2020, Benon Kigenyi, the acting ULC secretary, wrote to the principal land officer, directing him to stop individuals who were attempting to survey the land and mutate the land title, warning that it was registered in the commission names.
"ULC has learnt that some unknown persons have been at locus with a view of surveying the said land. I wish to inform you that ULC has not issued any instructions to survey this land," Kigenyi stated.
New Vision has however learnt that on Thursday last week, ULC chairperson Beatrice Byenkya and Kigenyi visited the disputed land and accused the Madhvanis of being land grabbers. Sources who attended the meeting told Sunday Vision that Byenkya accused Madhvani of holding onto the said land for many years without development.
Byenkya confirmed visiting the land but declined to comment, noting that she would give a lengthy explanation later. "Please leave me alone for now," she said.
The Madhvani Group of Companies is now petitioning the education miniser Janet Museveni and Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga to intervene.
"We request for the intervention of Government because, as a company, we have greater plans for the girl child," a Madhvani official said.
PMM Girls' is one of the few outstanding day girls' schools that gave access and opportunity for the education of most of the girls in Jinja and Busoga sub-region.