Thursday, May 3, 2012

WHY THE FAILURE OF TRANSPARENCY IN LAND DEALS?

Land commission disowns East Kololo land developers By Patience Ahimbisibwe Posted Thursday, May 3 2012 at 00:00
KCCA officials confront guards at the excavation site yesterday. PHOTO BY STEPHEN OTAGE In Summary Land commission secretary Henry Kawesa said documents presented by the two firms fighting over the school land had irregularities. KAMPALA In a new twist, the Uganda Land Commission (UCL) has disowned two companies fighting to develop East Kololo Primary School land. According to Mr Henry Kawesa, the ULC secretary, the body found problems in the documents submitted by Adventure Real Estates and Nextel Ltd which they have since never cleared. “When you read the documents that were submitted, they have problems. We have asked Adventure Real Estates and Nextel to come on the table with stakeholders and we talk but if any of them has gone ahead and started developing the land, Uganda Land Commission will not be accountable,” Mr Kawesa told Daily Monitor in an interview yesterday. He blamed the school authorities for their failure to report the matter to ULC and stopping the developers from excavating the land saying: “Those two fellows are now fighting for the land but we have never finalised the transaction. The school should ask those on the land who they are, who gave them the right to develop it and documents to verify because for us, whoever it is he got the mandate from, we don’t know.” He said while they do not have to consult anybody when they are going to issue out government land because it is invested to them by law, they have sometimes done it to keep a good relationship. “Those saying we have not consulted them need to read the law. When we consult, we are just being courteous. It is like when you own address, you don’t ask for permission to give it away,” Mr Kawesa said. Share This Story 13Share However, he added that because it is a government school, any development has to be notified through the Ministry of Education. However, Mr Francis Lubanga, the Ministry of Education permanent secretary, said: “Who is responsible for giving out land? It is Uganda Land Commission that can sort out this issue. You should talk to Mr Mayanja Nkangi and his secretary.” Efforts to get a comment from the managers of Adventure Real Estates have been fruitless since January as the physical address put on documents this newspaper secured cannot be reached. However, Nextel’s manager, Ms Francis Theresa, yesterday said the company is aware there are some developers already on the land at East Kololo which they are interested in. “We are pursuing the matter. We have not gone to court and we are interested in the land,” she said on phone. The School Management Committee (SMC) chairperson, Mr William Kwemara however, yesterday said while he has received documents from Adventure Real Estates, he has never for Nextel. But on Saturday April 28, Nextel delivered a letter to the school indicating that ULC had approved their company in 2010 to develop about two and a half acres of land in exchange for a computer laboratory and internet services. Both companies have documents from education and lands ministries approving their transactions. What is not clear is how the two companies could have expressed interest in developing the school land in 2009 as shown in the documents and were subsequently approved. The SMC meets today to discuss the matters. pahimbisibwe@ug.nationmedia.com

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