UGANDA, Masaka | Real Muloodi News | The State House Anti-Corruption Unit (SHACU) lawyer will oversee the investigation into the Bidco land controversy that has caused a delay in the Bidco oil palm extension project in Masaka District.
The government, through Bidco, procured three square miles in Nakigga Village in Bukakata County, but the land has been affected by over 200 strangers who encroached on the land, claiming to have a stake in it. This prompted the SHACU to assign its legal officer, Godfrey Arinaitwe, to head a task force team deployed to probe the matter.
The team, which includes Defence Minister Vincent Ssempijja, officers from the Ministries of Agriculture and Water, Bidco, Masaka, and Kalungu District Local Government leaders, landlords, and security authorities, was set up to investigate the prolonged delay of the oil palm growing program.
Economic Monitoring State Minister Beatrice Akello made the announcement during a stakeholders meeting held early this February 2023 at the Brovad Hotel in Masaka City.
The meeting was attended by various authorities, including Lands Minister Judith Nabakooba, Leader of Opposition in Parliament Mathias Mpuga, Buganda Parliamentary Caucus, and Akello, who initially advised the district security committee to deploy security as a preventive measure to guard against further encroachment on the said land.
The land conflict has been attributed to corruption, political self-interest, and land brokers, which have impeded the progress of Masaka’s palm oil out-growers program.
The program is expected to be commissioned by President Museveni in October and is targeted at securing over 6,000 acres in Masaka and Kalungu districts.
The National Environment Management Authority’s Executive Director, Akankwasa Barirega, said that environment-related studies have been carried out, and ongoing reviews will soon conclude.
However, the conflict has caused the Lands Minister to halt the Bidco program to pave the way for thorough investigations into the alleged eviction threats against 3,000 residents.
The land conflict in Masaka District has been a significant issue for the Bidco project, causing a delay in the palm oil growing program.
With the SHACU now stepping in, the hope is that the task force team will provide answers and solutions to the problem.
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