• Tue. Dec 6th, 2022

ULC Commissioner Summoned by Defence Committee over Naguru Police Land

UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | The Uganda Land Commission’s register commissioner, Peter Opio, was summoned by Parliament’s Sub-Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs for questioning over the mismanagement of Naguru police land.

Recently, Parliament established a committee led by Ruhinda South County MP Donozio Kahonda to investigate allegations of misuse of police land.

According to Mr Kahonda, ULC officials are due to reply to inquiries over 16.52 acres of land at Plot 2-96 along Katalima Road in Naguru.

The land in question was originally leased for 99 years to the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFRI) in 2011, but ULC later subleased it in 2015.

According to Mr Kahonda, after making unsuccessful attempts to get the ULC representative to attend and clarify the issues with the Naguru police land, his committee decided to serve him with a summons.

“We want him to appear and explain why he leased the same land that had already been given out to UNAFRI in 2011. We asked him to appear but he refused, we asked him to give us the documents but he adamantly refused, and we have now instructed the clerk to issue the summons,” he said.

Early this month, Martin Ochola Okoth, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), attempted to evict the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFRI) from Naguru land.

Ochola, who was represented by AIGP Erasmus Twaruhukwa, Director of Human Rights and Legal Services, appeared before the Subcommittee on Defence and Internal Affairs on Tuesday 23 August 2022, which is investigating the invasion of police land in Naguru.

According to the IGP’s statement, delivered by the Director of Logistics and Engineering, AIGP Richard Edyegu, UNAFRI should evacuate the 16.52 acres of land leased to them for failing to develop it as planned.

“UNAFRI has not proceeded to develop and utilize the land as was envisaged. To date, they have not proved to be beneficial to the Government in as far as their mandate is concerned,” Edyegu said.

The Conference of Ministers of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) chose Uganda as the host country for the UNAFRI in April 1998, to promote collaborative activities and joint action on priority issues concerning crime prevention and control in the development context.

The host country’s requirements included providing the institute with residential housing, office space, classrooms, and furnishings. Indeed, the government signed a 99-year lease to UNAFRI in 2011, which included property for 12 senior staff residences.

According to Police leadership, UNAFRI failed to develop the site and even rented off the majority of the residential units, including the 12 senior staff residences, for revenue generating, which was contradictory to the objective of the lease.

“This poses a security threat for the police establishment particularly because this is the same place that houses the Command centre, armoury, counter-terrorism base and police headquarters,” Edyegu said.

Contrary to the intent of the agreement, UNAFRI has now subleased 7.8 acres of the site to private company organisations such as YUASA Car Bond and Future Group Limited.

“It is therefore our prayer that the land comprising Plot 3 Mukabya Road and plots 2-8 on Katalima Road is returned to Uganda Police Force for further management and the 12 senior staff houses are immediately vacated and surrendered to Uganda Police Force,” he said.

Following the failure of numerous private developers, police are now contemplating leasing 40.47 acres of property to the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) in return for the development of staff housing and a Forensics Laboratory.

“We have started looking at other developers like NSSF which has the money. They will build for us structures that are commensurate with the value of the land,” AIGP Twaruhukwa said.

The land to be leased to NSSF is estimated to be worth USh180 billion.

Hon Donozio Mugabe Kahonda (Ruhinda South), the chairperson of the Defence Subcommittee, was astonished by the Uganda Police Force’s impunity in leasing out its land.

“I am told for Future Group Limited, it was an individual from outside police who ordered that land be given to them. Imagine UNAFRI, which is actually a defunct institute, is given a lease of less than 99 years, but they are able to sublease it at 99 years,” Hon Mugabe said.

According to AIGP Twaruhukwa, UNAFRI has been dysfunctional from its start and has no funds from the United Nations (UN).

“It is, therefore, our prayer that the land comprising Plot 3 Mukabya Road and plots 2-8 on Katalima Road is returned to Uganda Police Force for further management and the 12 senior staff houses are immediately vacated and surrendered to Uganda Police Force,” he told MPs Monday.

The Land Registry Commissioner, Peter Opio, was scheduled to appear before the subcommittee on Thursday 25 August 2022, for questioning.

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