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Parliament Halts KCCA Plans To Purchase 10 Acres Land At Shs370Bn To Relocate Vendors 

COSASE Chairperson, Joel Ssenyonyi,

Parliament has ordered Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) to halt the purchase of 10acres land for resettlement of vendors, due to the exorbitant price quoted and the dispute on ownership of the said land in Kisenyi, a city suburb.

This followed a recommendation in a report by Parliament’s Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) into the 2021/2022 audit report by the Auditor General, after the Committee learnt that KCCA was in the process of acquiring 10 acres of land in Kisenyi at a high price of $l00m (Shs370Bn) from a one Bosco Muwonge, to resettle vendors who usually operate on the streets of Kampala.

When the committee visited the location, it found that KCCA had already settled many traders on the said land and a more inquiry into the ownership of the land led the Committee to discover that there was a family claiming to be the rightful owners of the land and not Bosco Muwonge and that the matter was before courts of law and the case is yet to be disposed of.

Joel Ssenyonyi, Chairperson COSASE while presenting the report before Parliament revealed that Dorothy Kisaka, Executive Director KCCA revealed that whereas the Authority was interested in the land, it was still conducting consultations about the issue with the Ministry of Finance, but in the meantime, KCCA had entered into an understanding with the said Bosco Muwonge to settle the vendors on the said land as discussions and consultations about purchase ensue.

“The Committee observes that the US$100 Million (Shs370Bn) for 10 acres would mean that each acre would cost US$70m (Shs37bn), which is an exorbitant amount. While KCCA is engaging the Ministry of Finance regarding the intended, purchase, there was no evidence to show that the Chief Government Valuer was involved in valuing this land or the procurement laws were adhered to,” remarked Ssenyonyi.

He added that while acquiring land for vendors is a good idea, procurement regulations must be followed by KCCA, and the cost should be fair and Justifiable and given that there is an existing claim on the land, other than the said Bosco Muwonge by other people, it would be risky for KCCA to proceed with such a transaction before the right legal owner of the land is ascertained by Court.

“The Committee recommits that KCCA should immediately halt any process embarked on to acquire this land. Further, the entity should follow the requisite procurement laws to acquire land for vendors within the city,” said Ssenyonyi.

The revelation shocked MPs like Silas Aogon (Kumi Municipality) who stated, “I am so perturbed that somebody can ask for Shs37Bn for an acre of land in Kampala. I think some Ugandans have decided to eat money with metallic teeth, without shame, they have reached that level.”

COSASE also faulted officials at KCCA for their failure to secure land titles for land under their management after the Auditor General noted that out of the 184 preces of land measuring approximately 184.818 hectares the entity held, 48 pieces of land measuring approximately 37,755 hectares did not have land titles.

Kisaka informed the Committee that the majority of the 48 titles arise from road infrastructure projects where various preces of land have to be subdivided, 6 land titles had been obtained, and processes to have the rest of the land titled were initiated and were with cartographers and surveyors as part of the process and that the rest relate to preces of land belonging to Buganda Land Board that houses schools operated by KCCA, while the rest was owned by Uganda Land Commission.

KCCA management also informed the Committee that they were engaging the relevant institutions in order to obtain the certificates of titles, but that claim was put into question by Ssenyonyi who informed Parliament that the Authority did not submit evidence of engagement with the stakeholders in the matter with Buganda Land Board and Uganda Land Commission, which casts doubt on their commitment to obtain the various certificates of title.

Anna Adeke (Soroti DWR) while reacting to the report findings noted, “It isn’t in doubt that what is in KCCA is simply a hub of corruption. I listened to the report and issue of titling of land, consent judgments entered into all of this speaks to deep seated corruption in the system. KCCA has a land management unit, it has a legal department and ED, why would KCCA continue having untiled land? It is because some people are profiting from the fact that that land isn’t titled. They are making money, there are so many deals that are being made on those pieces of land.”

The Committee warned that the lack of certificates of title exposes KCCA land to encroachment, disputes, and may result in the loss of land.

“The Accounting Officer should, actively engage the relevant stakeholders to obtain certificates of title for all untitled land, and update Parliament on the progress six (6) months from the date of adoption of this Report. The Auditor General should, audit all KCCA land in the next subsequent audit,” said Ssenyonyi. Parliament adopted the Committee’s recommendation on the two audit issues.

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