MPs on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Wednesday grilled Makerere University Business School (MUBs) Principal Prof. Waswa Balunywa on how the institution lost its titled prime land and instead got a swamp.
Apparently, the Uganda Land Commission gave out prime land belonging to MUBS to private developers and ended up compensating the institution with a swampy land.
While appearing before the Committee to respond to queries raised in the Auditor General’s report especially why MUBS had failed to occupy its land in Kireka measuring approximately 0.906 hectares despite being in possession of the land title, Balunywa said that the land came in form of compensation to MUBs by Uganda Land Commission following an out of court settlement for the loss of part of the School land at Bugolobi, which the Commission illegally allocated to private developers.
He acknowledged the failure by MUBS to take possession of the property, blaming the Land Commission for compensating MUBS with land that was later found to be swamp and efforts to have Commission provide another piece of land free of encumbrance, have hit a snug as the Land Commission failed to oblige.
“We were compensated but found it was in a swamp with squatters. Our attempt to secure land hasn’t been successful,” Balunywa said.
However, Committee Vice Chairperson, Gerald Karuhanga questioned why MUBs didn’t take the initiative to cross check the land before agreeing to the deal.
“They took a very prime land about 0.906 hectares and it is about four acres. You can imagine you lost acres in Bugolobi and you ended up with a swamp in Butabika-Kireka which is also having squatters. That is worth USD10M; it is about Shs40bn you lost in Bugolobi.”
The Committee agreed to summon officials from Uganda Land Commission to explain how this dubious transaction happened.
MUBS was also criticized by Auditors for injecting in Shs679m to carry out major works at Jinja-Narambhai campus without taking the initiative to obtain the land title from Jinja Municipal Council.
In defense, Balunywa asked PAC to intervene in the matter, saying that efforts to get the land title haven’t been successful in the last six years.