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State House Halts Transactions On Land Owned By Co-operatives

The leadership of the cooperative movement is seeking to recover dozens of properties, mainly pieces of land irregularly appropriated over the last eight years.

The current board and management team of the Uganda Cooperative Alliance (UCA) have also been tasked to get money and get the vehicles and motorcycles that have been grounded for years running again.

These were contained in reports by the UCA Supervisory Committee and the organisation’s lawyers at Kampala Associated Advocates, at the Annual General Meeting of the cooperators.

All along, UCA thought their properties were safe and secure until some of the purported buyers approached Ivan Asiimwe, the current Secretary General and Chief Executive, demanding for the titles to the land.

On being accused of trespass, the buyers presented documents showing that they either bought from UCA or from Leonard Musemakweli, who, in either case had signed on them.

Most of the documents of sale and transfer forms show the dates of signing as being between 2016 and 2021, long after Musemakweli had been replaced by Asiimwe.

The advisory committee report read by Jalia Bintu Lukumu, a member, called for the criminal prosecution of Musemakweli “and his team” for, among others, transacting on UCA properties when he has long ceases to be in authority.

Most of the land pieces were transferred to Jomayi Property Consultants, then a leading land dealer in and around Kampala, who then subdivided them into smaller plots of land to be sold to third parties.

A case in point is the 3.8 hectare Plot 14 Block 90, which, according to the findings by a hired surveyor, was subdivided into 16 plots and titles created in the names of UCA in 2015.

These were then transferred to 10 persons with Jomayi taking five before further subdividing them for further sale. Other buyers, according to the report were Akite Lydia, Wafula Philip and Malka Grace as joint buyers, Mutebi Alex, Katongole Paul, Twinomugisha Bernard, Kwezi Margaret Rugege, Amoko Stephen, Nagawa Susan and a duo of Carolyn Kamasaka and Bernard Twinomugisha.

Plot 636 was registered in the name of Jomayi Property Consultants on October 2021 but does not have the transfer form to show the date the transaction was done.

This was subdivided into several plots which were later transfered to other people, but by the time of the report, several of them were still in the names of the real estate company.

The report shows other plots sold as recently as 2020, including 648 and 650 transferred on 14th February to Jomayi, who then subdivided and transferred them to other persons.

There are other plots which are under investigations and the committee could therefore not comment on them. Tumuhaise said the most evident crime is that the property transfers were made by a person who was no longer in office.

In other cases, whole companies were “reported missing” after they were shifted from their known and registered premises to unknown locations, before they could even return any dividends to UCA.

UCA has shares UCA Business Services Ltd, Union Export Services Ltd, the Cooperative Insurance Company (CIC) UCCU and UCCFS, totaling over 290 million shillings.It cannot travel UCA Business Services Ltd which was located in the UCA headquarters building on Nkrumah Road, as well as Union Export.

Following the queries first raised implicating the former Secretary General, Musemakweli took legal action against the UCA Secretary General accusing him of defamation but lawyer Ferdinand Tumuhaise from KAA said they now have more than enough evidence.

Tumuhaise said that some of the properties were reported as being in the names of UCA last year though there was information that they had been sold, before documents were dug out to tell otherwise.

State Minister for Cooperatives, Fredrick Ngobi Gume welces the decision of the AGM to take the suspects to court. He urged even cooperative unions countrywide to seek court redress in the bid to recover their misappropriated properties especially over the te that the unions have been dormant.

The management reported that one of the main challenges if the declining sources of financial partners and that this could affect their operations. However, this year, the government responded to UCA’s request for funds to boost their operations, with a grant of 3 billion shillings.

Minister Gume urged them to use the money to revive activities at the lower levels including training and mobilising members of cooperative unions and societies.

Stressing the importance of the cooperative movement, Gume said the Parish Development Model and Emyooga programs were based on the cooperatives.

It was also revealed that the UCA headquarters building was now fully a property of the organisation following the successful lifting of the caveat that had been imposed by the Bank of India when the Asians were expelled from the country in the early 1970s.

Lawyer Tumuhimbise said that the Bank lost interest in the contest and government has now granted UCA full ownership of the Nkrumah Road building.

-URN

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