PIC: Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, the land probe commission chairperson. (File photo)
LAND | PROBE
KAMPALA - A senior registrar of title in the lands ministry has been grilled over allegations that she solicited for money in order to sign transfer forms.
The land probe commission’s assistant lead counsel, John Bosco Suuza yesterday tasked Louella Ataro to explain the circumstances under which she allegedly demanded money from Jude Clement Kidega, a land dealer.
The commission earlier heard from Evelyn Kafeero that when she wanted to transfer a piece of land she bought from Kidega in 2014, Ataro refused to sign the transfer forms on premise that Kidega owed her money. It is not clear how much Kidega ‘owed’ Ataro.
During intense cross- examinations by Suuza, Ataro was further quizzed over claims that she signed transfer forms.
Kidega, who is also being accused of selling part of Ssayi central forest reserve in Mukono to Kafeero, admitted before the commission that he paid sh10m to Ataro to help her sign his transfer forms.
Ataro has been accused by the commissioners of allegedly conniving with land grabbers to take the central forest reserve in Ssayi, Mukono municipality.
The land probe team also heard that Ataro illegally authorised the sub division of Kabaka’s land at Block 369 Plot 3 at Golomolo Kiyaga without the Kingdom’s consent.
It is alleged that Ataro, through a mutation form, authorised the sub-division of Kabaka’s from Block 369 into plots 8,9,10, 11 and 13.
Mutation is the change of title ownership from one person to another when the property is sold or transferred.
Ataro has also been implicated in the issuing of title in Mabira Central Forest reserve to Nurdin Yusuf and Bashir Yusuf illegally.
Ataro denied involvement in the bribery scandal, saying she had no role in receiving any money from Kidega to do government work.
“My lord, it is not true that I received money. It is totally false,” Ataro said.
On issues of issuing title in forest reserve, Ataro said she did not know that the land in dispute was a forest reserve.
She assured the commission that in subsequent issuing of titles, she will be more cautious.
Justice Bamugemereire is the commission chairperson. The commissioners are Fredrick Ruhindi, Mary Oduka Ochan Robert Ssebunnya, Joyce Gunze Habaasa, Dr Rose Nakayi, and George Bagonza Tinkamanyire.
Ebert Byenkya is lead counsel, John Bosco Suuza is assistant lead counsel, while the Judiciary deputy registrar of planning and development, Olive Kazaarwe Mukwaya, heads the secretariat.
The commission’s mandate is to probe the efficiency of the laws, policies and processes of land registration, acquisition, administration and management.
It is also tasked with inquiring the effectiveness of the Uganda Land Commission (ULC) in administering public land and relevant bodies in the reservation of wetlands, forests, road reserves and national parks.