Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) procurement officer has been dragged to the land probe over alleged land grab estimated at sh1.8b.
Residents of Kapeeka village accused Doreen Tiberonda of forcefully grabbing their land measuring110 hectares (271 acres). One of the residents told New Vision in an interview that an acre of land in the area is sh7m.
The resident said they bought the land they had been living on two decades ago. However, they had a rude shock when Tiberonda evicted them and brought trumped-up charges of trespass against some of them.
John Kabanda, a resident of Lwanda village said Tiberonda accused him of trespass claiming that he illegally settled on her land, yet he bought 60 acres of land between 1997 and 1999.
“She (Tiberonda) said that I unlawfully settled on her land and inconvenienced her yet I came on this land before her,” Kabanda said.
During the hearing that was conducted on the disputed land, the residents said the conflict erupted in 2009 when the villagers were forcefully evicted from their land by Tiberonda. The residents want the land commission to intervene in the matter.
“In 2009 Tiberonda came with forms and told us that we should fill the forms, and be compensated for the land yet we had never asked to be compensated,” Kabanda said.
Another resident Martin Kamugisha, said he abandoned his home when Tiberonda tortured him and concocted charges against him and he influenced the Police to detain him.
He said his family is disintegrated and his wives and twenty children have also deserted him. Kamugisha said the villagers have nowhere to go and did not know how to start afresh after the brutal eviction.
“What we can hope for is for the commission to help us to look into this matter. We have been living here for so long, and even we have proof of purchase of our land,” Kamugisha said.
Tiberonda denies eviction claims
Tiberonda dismissed the claims that she evicted the residents as false. She told the commission during the hearing that she has never evicted anybody.
She said the 30 bibanja holders she found on the land after acquiring the land were duly compensated between sh5and 6m and willingly accepted the compensation.
She explained to the commission chaired by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire that she acquired the land through a lease process from Industrial Coffee Growers. She said was granted five years lease in 1998, extended to 10 years and in 2003 she got 39 years lease.
“I have never evicted anybody from this land it is a false allegation against me. I purchase the interests of the company at sh78m and in 2009 I transferred the land into my names,” Tiberonda said.
She told the commission that Kabanda and others sued her but they lost the case adding that Kabanda’s land was sold to recover costs court had awarded her.
Commission’s assistant lead counsel Andrew Odiit tasked Tiberonda with providing evidence to show whether she fairly compensated the claimants.
“Do you any evidence that those 30 people were compensated through a fair process,” Odiit said.
Tiberonda said she took a responsible step to ensure that all those with genuine interests were compensated before they could vacate the land.
During the fact-finding visit, Justice Bamugemereire said the exercise was meant to identify genuine owners of the land and to ensure that they live in harmony.