The Auditor General has unearthed rot in the Departed Asians Property Custodian Board (DAPCB).
In his special report to Parliament, AG John Muwanga revealed that the board misused public funds through fictitious compensations of up to Shs1.7 billion, double allocation of properties, forged land titles, sale of assets without proper valuation and missing documents, among other illegalities.
These irregularities have been blamed on ‘a busy board’ [that includes government officials such as ministers], which failed to monitor the property transactions.
Muwanga said that the Board chaired by Finance minister Matia Kasaija failed to maintain proper books of accounts and annual financial statements were not prepared. As a result, it took his office over 15 years to audit the Board activities.
According to Daily Monitor, Kasaija claims that unspecified amount of money was paid to undisclosed claimants for properties, which were sold by the Custodian Board prior to receiving repossession claims by original owners.
However, without the schedule and respective claim files supporting the compensation amounts in question, the Auditor General said: “I was therefore unable to confirm the authenticity of these claims.”
The AG also inspected 139 properties in Jinja Municipality and found that the Board did appoint qualified professionals to value the properties. There was also no complete list of tenants and properties. The AG further discovered cases of duplicated allocation of properties, abandoned properties, irregular disposal of properties, arrears of ground rent and unscrupulous property managers. He says these irregularities have resulted in loss of government properties.
Currently, legislators on the Parliament’s Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) are currently investigating suspected abuse of departed Asians properties.
The MPs want the Board to publish a list of the beneficiaries to confirm whether they did not pay ghost claimants.