KAMPALA. President Museveni’s brother, Mr Shadrack Nzeire, has been accused before the Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters of brokering illegal acquisition of land titles in wetlands and on shores of Lake Victoria in Luzira, Nakawa Division.
Mr Edward Kalema, the former Nakawa Division area lands committee chairman, on Monday revealed that Mr Nzeire presented application for lease of Plot 3 at Luzira, near Lake Victoria with a view of establishing a landing site.
He said the same plot was later subdivided into a number of plots, which were later turned into freehold.
Other purported developers, according to Mr Kalema include Lala Apartments owned by businessman Ephraim Ntaganda, Moskam Contracting owned by city lawyer and former Nakawa Division Area land committee chairman, Mr Moses Kamoga and Godfrey Mutabaazi.
Other people who own land titles in the protected areas include former minister of state for Economic Monitoring, Mr Henry Banyenzaki, businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba, Azida Nantege, Emmanuel Kyoyeta, Nasser Kirumira and Ibrahim Biranze.
Evidence presented before the land probe shows that among the purported developers is M/s Trussnet Uganda Limited, a company owned by a Nigerian investor but holding a freehold ownership.
It is alleged that the developers fraudulently acquired the disputed land titles in contravention of the laws and procedures leading to encroachment on natural reserves, but they have been used to claim for billions in compensation from government.
The disputed land titles measuring in hectares were reportedly acquired fraudulently, targeting compensation as government seeks to implement infrastructural projects in Namanve Central Forest Reserve and Bukasa wetland.
The projects include the Bukasa inland port, Namanve-Luzira and Mutundwe-Entebbe powerlines, the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), the Kampala-Jinja Expressway and the Southern Bypass.
Appearing before the Justice Catherine Bamugemereire-led commission sitting at Wandegeya, Mr Kalema who was quizzed over facilitating fraud and grabbing of government land, revealed that the names are synonymous for acquisition of land in different wetlands in Nakawa Division.
Mr Kalema admitted that he signed reports that recommended the granting of approval of leases for the waterlogged areas without inspection as required by law.
“My lord, I am very sorry for those few plots because in that area, those are very few applications but I handled so many in other areas of the division. I ask for pardon because for some plots, I was told that they (plots) were developed with nothing,” testified Mr Kalema He revealed that the applicants for the disputed plots facilitated their movements and work.
He also testified that the applicants came with deed plans of survey for the respective plots and filled forms for their perusal.
The Executive Director of National Environment Management Authority (Nema), Dr Tom Okurut, told the land probe last week that the registered proprietors of contested areas acquired the titles in areas that must be fully conserved for filtering waste water from Kampala Industrial park.
Dr Okurut said they learnt about the contested land titles upon granting approval to the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company for construction of a power line in the area in 2015.
The commission’s deputy lead counsel, Mr John Bosco Suuza, said investigations are still ongoing and that a decision will be taken to summon Mr Nzeire basing on the evidence presented.
The commission is investigating into the law, processes and procedures by which land is administered and registered and to assess the legal and policy framework on government land acquisition.
The commission is inquiring into the effectiveness of relevant bodies in the preservation of wetlands, forests and game reserves and examining ways in which the challenge of human habitation in those areas can be resolved.