KAMPALA – The resumption of the parliamentary investigation on properties under the Departed Asian Properties Custodian Board (DAPCB) has hit a snag with several witnesses unable to make if to the hearings.
Two Ugandans of Asian origin have written to Parliament, explaining that they are unable to meet the committee investigating the mismanagement of properties left behind by Asians who were expelled by Idi Amin in 1972.
Mr Pradip Karia and Mr Minex Karia were on June 16 summoned by a select taskforce of the Parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) to appear today, Thursday, 18 June 2020.
But through their lawyers of Akampumuza & Co, Advocates, the duo said they are unable to attend the said meeting as they were unable to return in the country due to the current travel restrictions over Covid-19 pandemic.
“As earlier communicated on the 16th day of March 2020, at a meeting with lawyers and committee held at the Parliament and subsequently with a further communication delivered on the 25rh day of March 2020 to the Parliament Security; that our clients Mr. Pradip Karia and Mr. Minex Karia unfortunately could not attend the said meeting as they were unable to return in the country due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the lockdown and travel restrictions instituted by His Excellency the President on the 20th March 2020,” the June 17 letter to COSASE reads in part.
“We therefore request that the hearing date should be further adjourned until the situation gets back to normality and my clients are able to return,” the letter, also copied to Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, adds.
The duo, who are members of the Association of Expropriated Properties Owners’ Limited, are some of the witnesses expected to appear before the select taskforce of the Parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) .
The members of the association last year urged MPs to look at properties that were never repossessed but are in hands of individuals, as per the Expropriated Properties Act, 1982, instead of reverting to government.
“In other words, we say that there are the government officials who have mismanaged the custodian board and those who have influenced the allocation of properties already repossessed, that should be investigated. The President should look into this and guide Parliament,” Mr Karia from Property Services Ltd, one of the companies managing repossessed properties, said in an interview.