KAMPALA– Legislators on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) are investigating circumstances under which the Uganda Land Commission gave out prime land belonging to Makerere University Business School (MUBS) and ended up compensating the institution with swampland.
The details of the dubious transaction are contained in the June 30 report by the Auditor General who queried why the university had failed to occupy land in Kireka measuring approximately 0.906 hectares despite being in possession of the land title.
While appearing before the Committee, MUBS Principal, Waswa Balunywa said that the land came in form of compensation to MUBS by Uganda Land Commission following an out of court settlement for the loss of part of the School land at Bugolobi, which the Commission illegally allocated to private developers.
Balunywa acknowledges the failure by MUBs to take possession of the property, blaming the Land Commission for compensating MUBS with land that was later found to be a swamp and efforts to have Commission provide another piece of land free of encumbrance, have hit a snug as the Land Commission failed to oblige.
The MUBS Principal explained: “We were compensated but found it was in a swamp with squatters. Our attempt to secure land hasn’t been successful.”
Committee Vice Chairperson, Gerald Karuhanga questioned why MUBS didn’t take the initiative to cross-check the land before agreeing to the deal.
“They took a very prime land about 0.906 hectares and it is about four acres. You can imagine you lost, acres in Bugolobi and you ended up with a swamp in Butabika-Kireka which is also having squatters. That is worth USD10M it is about Shs40Bn you lost in Bugolobi.”
The Committee agreed to summon officials from Uganda Land Commission to throw more light on the dubious land transaction.
Still in land matters, MUBs was also criticized by Auditors for injecting in Shs679,152,591 to carry out major works at Jinja-Narambhai campus without taking the initiative to obtain the land title from Jinja Municipal Council.
Balunywa pleaded with the Committee to intervene in the matter revealing that attempts to obtain the land title have been futile for six years.