A select committee by the Commission, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase), has discovered that 27 titles of Departed Asians in Jinja District are illegal
The select committee is probing circumstances under which properties of Departed Asians were compensated and repossessed by the alleged owners who lost their properties in the 1970s when Idi Amin expelled Asians from Uganda.
The task force chaired by Makindye East legislator Ibrahim Kasozi while meeting the Jinja District Land Board on Tuesday, found that the current occupants on the 27 properties did not acquire them lawfully as provided for in the Expropriated Properties Act 1982.
Most of the properties are in prime areas across Jinja Municipality.
According to Daily Monitor newspaper, a team led by former chairperson of Jinja Land Board, Innocent Ngobi Ndiko, and the district senior land management officer, Fred Waiswa, told the MPs that the district had no knowledge of how the current occupants came into possession of the properties. Ndiko testified that although the land boards that preceded theirs handled the 65 properties currently under parliamentary investigation, 27 were found to have been illegally acquired and their possession is null and void.
“We were not in office by then. The transactions on all these properties that were done by a letter of repossession are a nullity,” Ndiko said.
Jinja Land Board officials also revealed that they are not sure how 16 other properties were handled because they are occupied by private individuals without evidence on how they were repossessed.
For these, the Land Board referred the MPs to the Departed Asians Properties’ Custodian Board (DAPCB, the statutory body that manages the properties.
In August this year, DAPCB Executive Secretary George William Bizibu while appearing before Cosase, admitted that there were some issues surrounding the compensation and repossession of the properties.
During the interface with the MPs, Bizibu who has been at the helm of the DAPCB for about two years, said the board does not have information on the current ownership of several plots despite the records indicating that they were compensated by the government.
However, the MPs accused Mr Bizibu of trying to cover up senior government officials accused of grabbing the Asian properties.
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