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Uganda: Cancel title on ‘ghost land’ – surveyors

A joint survey team appointed by the Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters has told the Commissioner of Lands to cancel a special title issued on a piece of land which the surveyors said does not exist.

In May last year, a complainant, Mr Stanley Lwanga, petitioned the land probe after his farm was fenced off by Ms Peninah Karenge Busingye, using a special title on Block 185 Plot 1131 in Namavundu, Namugongo near Kampala.

The title in the name of Natasha Karenge was created on land where there are 161 existing titles, including that of the Auditor General, Mr John Muwanga.

Presenting a joint survey report to the commission of inquiry yesterday, Dr Ronald Ssengendo said: “My lord, this land [Karenge’s plot] does not exist on the ground.

The 64.653 hectares are about 159 acres which is about 159 football fields. This land is on paper but does not exist on the ground.

There was no survey done before creating this title. If a survey had been done this anomaly would have been seen.”

Dr Ssengendo represented Mr Stanley Lwanga and the Auditor General Mr John Muwanga on the joint survey team while Mr Joseph Sserunjogi from Geo Earth consultants and surveys represented Ms Karenge while Mr Richard Maserejje represented the commission.

The joint team was tasked by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, who chairs the commission of inquiry, to open boundaries of the contested land early last month.

Presenting their findings before the Commission yesterday, Dr Ssengendo said Plot 1131 was slotted on top of an already exiting titled land, which is not acceptable.

“Most of the land that Ms Karenge occupies belongs to Mr Lwanga. He (Mr Lwanga) owned 29.045 hectares but currently only occupies 2.451 hectares.

All the 26 hectares are occupied by Ms Karenge,” Dr Ssengendo said in agreement with Mr Sserunjogi.

When asked by the commission’s lead counsel, Mr Ebert Byenkya, whether Mr Lwanga’s land was in another place as claimed by Ms Karenge, Dr Ssengendo said Mr Lwanga was on his actual and rightful land.

Dr Ssengendo said there are many cases of double titling of land, adding that addressing the problem on a case by case basis would eliminate the vice.

The team said although there are sub-divisions on Plot 1, the disputed land, records in Department of Mapping and Surveys show there are no sub-divisions.

“This land can still be claimed by the Kisosonkole family and we will have a case of triple titling,” Dr Ssengendo said.

He also promised to initiate an investigation into how Mr Dennis Asiimwe carried out this survey and if found culpable, he will be penalised.

RECCOMENDATIONS
The joint surveyors recommended to the commission that there is need to re-survey the land and re-introduce mark stones where they existed before they were tampered with.

They also want relevant authorities to reconcile land survey records between district offices and Entebbe.

By Daily Monitor

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