UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | Police have been directed to provide security to Internal Medicine of Virginia Limited to enable them take possession and develop land at Nakawa-Naguru in Kampala, in a move that has concerned analysts.
The prime land allocated to the controversial company is located at Plot 25-50 Naguru Rd, Kampala.
Recently, a Parliamentary Adhoc Committee investigated the allocation of Nakawa-Naguru land to several companies who benefited from the land distribution under irregular circumstances.
The investigation determined that the company Internal Medicine of Virginia did not satisfy any stated evaluation criterion to be eligible for the land distribution.
The company, a general practice doctor’s office operating out of Virginia, USA under the name Internal Medicine of Virginia PC, only registered in Uganda in June 2021. As a freshly constituted company, the company’s finances could not be investigated to evaluate its capacity to execute the proposed investment.
What’s more, the company did not provide a business strategy or proof of tax clearance, and was found not to even have a physical address in Uganda, all of which were strict requirements for the land allocation. According to the Committee’s report, Internal Medicine of Virginia did not even make an attempt to comply with the criteria for assessment prescribed by the Uganda Land Commission (ULC).
Hon Beatrice Byenkya Nyakaisiki, ULC chairperson, further informed the Adhoc Committee on March 22 that the directors of the company could not be verified. The Adhoc Committee’s own attempts to summon the company’s elusive directors were also in vein.
The Adhoc Committee also established that the amount paid by Internal Medicine of Virginia to lease the 15 acres of prime land was significantly less than the fair market value, at the bequest of the former Lands Minister, Hon Betty Kamya, who is now the Inspector General of Government (IGG).
According to the Adhoc Committee report, Minster Hon Betty Kamya wrote to ULC to waive off the Premium and ground rent for Internal Medicine of Virginia.
“To make matters worse, despite the Chief Government Valuer assessing 4.5 billion Shillings of Premium and Annual Ground rent at 225 million Shillings, Internal Medicine of Virginia ended up only paying 300,000 Shillings as ground rent for 15 acres,” revealed Dan Kimosho the Committee Chairperson.
Kimosho added: “It is the considered view of the committee that such land should have been allocated to genuine developers who can offer the same solutions like what was touted as being provided by Internal Medicine of Virginia, such as Mediheal Group of Hospitals Ltd; the Committee interacted with them and they were found to be credible and with demonstrable experience through their wide network of hospitals in Kenya and Rwanda and Uganda – China friendship Hospital who have requested government for more land for expansion.”
The Committee’s investigation concluded Internal Medicine of Virginia PC is a non-existent and phoney investor, and the land assigned to them should be reclaimed and the lease annulled.
Subsequently, The Ugandan Parliament ordered for the cancellation of the company’s 15 acre Nakawa-Naguru land title.
However, a letter dated 12th July by Lands Minister Judith Nabakooba to the Inspector General of Police confirms that the land allocation to Internal Medicine of Virginia was pushed through regardless.
The letter reads in part: “I received a telephone communication on 7th July 2022 from H.E the President directing that you provide security to Ms. Internal Medicine of Virginia Ltd to enable them take possession and develop the land leased to the Company by Uganda Land Commission with immediate effect.”
“By copy of this letter all relevant Government agencies are requested to provide the investor the necessary support and cooperation,” Nabakooba adds.
However, some analysts argue that failure to implement the Parlimentary Committee’s recommendations is a sign of the breakdown of operations in the land sector.
Critics are saying that for the Lands Minister to write to the Inspector General of Police to give security to a company that acquired the land in Naguru illegally in open disregard of Parliament’s findings is deeply concerning.
“It means the institutions of Government, including Parliament and the recommendations that Parliament makes, is irrelevant,” says Dr Patrick Wakida, a governance Analyst and Researcher.
In Parliament July 13, 2022, some MPs attempted to grill Hon Nabakooba for going against the Adhoc Committee recommendations. However, Hon Nabakooba claims her ministry had not received a copy of the House resolutions on the matter.
The attitude of some ministers’ towards Parliament’s resolutions regarding the Naguru-Nakawa land saga is landing them in hot water.
For example, the Adhoc Committee’s same report also faults the State Minister for Urban Planning and Development, Hon Persis Namuganza, for falsifying a presidential directive that saw Uganda Land Commission allocate land to certain entities, and recommended she be held accountable for abuse of office. The Adhoc Committee further urged the appointing authority to temporarily relieve her of her duties to pave way into investigations into the relevant organs of government.
Following the indictment from Parliament, Hon Namuganza is alleged to have publicly said that Parliament is powerless and unable to censure her in relation to her involvement in the Naguru-Nakawa land allocations.
Consequently, the Committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline is set to investigate her conduct for allegedly having brought Parliament into disrepute.
The Adhoc Committee also noted that the undue interference by Ministers and other government officials in the process leading to the re-entry of the Naguru land portrayed Government in bad light and resulted into financial loss.
On Wednesday, Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa promised to meet the President at an appropriate time to discuss the way forward.
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