UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | Government has begun the process to recover at least 100 Departed Asian properties from former owners where compensation had been paid for the properties.
The Finance Ministry issued notices to cancel 600 titles, and reclaim the 100 Departed Asians’ assets.
The move comes three months after a Cosase sub-committee of the 10th Parliament released a report on its two-year investigation into the Departed Asians Property Custodian Board (DAPCB) operations.
DAPCB was created to manage properties of Asian and British persons who President Idi Amin had expelled from Uganda in 1972.
Alligations were made that some of the properties under DAPCB management, for which government had paid compensation to their former owners, were repossessed by those who were compensated. The Cosase sub-committee was instituted to investigate these, among other, allegations.
The 83-page Cosase sub-committee report revealed that government had paid compensation amounting to Shs1.7 billion to 119 former owners. Despite the payouts, at least 100 properties had been reclaimed by the former owners or their agents. Some of these properties are now in the hands of wealthy individuals.
The report states, in part, “The committee noted that some properties formerly compensated by government had ended up in the hands of unscrupulous individuals, who had later transferred the same to bona fide purchasers for value without notice.”
The report recommends that the government move to recover the properties, and prosecute those who had taken possession of them, as well as those who aided their fraudulent transfer.
“Persons found to have fraudulently reclaimed properties for which they had already been compensated should not only lose the property but also be prosecuted for misrepresentation, obtaining property by false pretence and fraudulent acquisition of property. The DAPCB should initiate processes for cancellation of repossession certificates acquired and any substitute titles issued…” the report recommends.
The recommendations in the report were put into effect by the 10th Parliament. After this, the Ministry of Finance and the DAPCB began notifying owners of repossession processes by the government.
Attorney General Steps In
After the Ministry of Finance and the DAPCB issued the notices reclaiming the 100 assets and cancelling 600 titles, Hon. Attorney General stepped in, in his capacity as principal legal advisor of the government.
The Attorney General informed DAPCB that the Finance Minister (or Departed Asians Property Custodian Board) “(“The Board”) has no powers to cancel a certificate of repossession previously issued by him or her. That power is reserved for the High Court of Uganda under Section 15 of the Expropriated Properties Act CAP 87.
Finance Minister, Matia Kasaija declined to comment on the matter, saying “The law is taking its course. That is what I can say for now. I cannot reveal more than that.”
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