Moses Mwase appearing before COSASE
The Privatization Unit under the Ministry of Finance has said that it has demanded in vain for the payment of Uganda Shs69 billion proceeds from the sale of Uganda Railways property in Nsambya and Kibuli.
Although Uganda Railways was meant to get 69.5 billion shillings for the 57 acres of land, 10 years later the Privatisation Unit has not yet succeeded to get this money which the owner -URC- desperately needs.
The land was allocated to Janet Kobusingye, the owner of Mestil Hotel, Charles Kimera, Islamic University, House of Dawda, CTM Uganda Limited, Access Uganda Limited and Yas Company.
The others who got the URC land are; Alumus Properties, M/S Fairplay Services limited and Kampala International University among others in 2010.
The land was allocated to the ‘investors’ who had missed out on the Naguru-Nakawa Estate land. The sale of the land was meant to cushion Uganda Railways which was at the time struggling financially.
Uganda Railways transferred the land to Uganda Lands Commission on the directive of the President, and money amounting 69 billion shillings was supposed to be paid to the Uganda Railways but this has not happened 10 years later.
Appearing before the committee on Commissions Statutory Authorities and State Enterprise -COSASE chaired by Joel Ssenyonyi the Nakawa West MP, Moses Mwase who heads the Privatization Unit at the Ministry of Finance says that they have written several times to the Ministry of Finance to provide funds related to the sale, but this has never been met.
He said that they have written several letters to the Permanent Secretary/Secretary to the Treasury, but they have never got the money to date.
“We have written several requests and reminders on not one or two occasions to the Secretary to the Treasury, in fact, we have included this as an outstanding receivable so that this money can be passed on to Uganda Railways,” Mwase said.
Ssenyonyi tasked the team to return next Tuesday with evidence of written letters so that the committee can trace where the money went.
He says that the Privatization Unit should be held accountable for the money not being paid.
Ssenyonyi says they are following the trail of the money.
Meanwhile, the committee has also summoned the Mbarara North MP to explain how he acquired four prime properties belonging to Uganda Railways in Kampala. The committee found out that Mwesigwa acquired four pieces of land in Port Bell and one in Mulago.
The committee which was probing the sale and giveaway of Uganda Railways land to ‘investors’ also wants General David Ssejusa who acquired a property in Lake Drive, Port Bell to as well explain how he got the land.
The questions follow concerns that some of the procurement processes for disposing of the railways properties were not followed, with highly connected persons taking over the land, while sitting tenants who couldn’t afford to purchase the property were reportedly allowed to look for a buyer.
“The properties advertised were 10, however, the properties that were eventually sold were 15, what explains this?” Ssenyonyi asked. “There was no public bidding to some of the properties!”
Mwase however said that the properties were not advertised because sitting tenants were given priority.
Yusuf Nsibambi, the MP Mawokota South questioned why some key Ugandans are the only ones who managed to buy the properties.
“Was this a fair exercise or did you act under duress, how can highly connected officers be the ones to take the properties?” he asked.
He demanded that all bid documents should be provided to show who the winners of the process were. Richard Sebamala, the Bukoto County Central MP told the committee that there was a deliberate move to sell off the different prime land to connected people.
“Are you aware that the house of the Managing Director of Uganda Railways around Nakasero was Rehabilitated for 350 million shillings, but sold off weeks later?’’ he asked, question winghy the property was earmarked as non-core and then sold.
Mwase pledged to look into the matter.
COSASE tasked the privatization Unit to come up with a list of all successful bidders, how much the cost of the properties were, how much the unsuccessful bidders provided, and the performance of the successful bidders.
The Privatization unit said that they will avail all the documents related to the query.