LIRA – Lands Minister Judith Nabakooba has directed for the immediate suspension of all activities relating to the Lira District Land Board.
Nabakooba in a letter dated February 4, 2022 addressed to the Lira Chief Administrative Officer and LCV Chairman, says she received a complaint of misconduct involving corruption, influence peddling against the members of the Lira District Land board.
She said the nature of allegations translates to questions of moral turpitude against officials serving on the board where she is the approving officer of such appointments.
“…..the purpose of this letter is to suspend the officials of the board to pave way for investigations into the allegations and new members to be nominated for appointment and my approval….,” the letter reads in parts.
“I have asked the Minister of State for lands to guide the district and the city on the effective process of nominating new members on the District Land Board within a month,” she wrote.
The minister’s letter follows Pastor Francis Okello Olwa, the board secretary’s unbecoming actions of smuggling land documents files using his personal car to an unknown destination, just a few hours after Lira City that led to his arrest.
This comes just after the Chief Magistrate at Lira High Court swearing in new Land Board members on 3rd January, 2022.
“He is in safe custody with the exhibits at Lira Central Police Station. The said officer had become too powerful, untouchable and acting with impunity with full knowledge and support of the Chief Administrative Officer Mr. Ben Ogwete, the District Chairperson Mr. Okello Orik and the Land Board Chair Mr. Paul Camkoma,” a source revealed.
For some time now, a number of complaints had been raised about the board secretary’s rampant actions of forgery of documents and official stamps of certain offices under the watch of his bosses, disposing of people’s land without the owners’ knowledge for selfish gains, attaching money value to all their transactions including signing of documents and stamping.
“It is anticipated that by the time the team leaves for the new District headquarters in Ogur, they will have sold off and allocated to themselves all public land in the current Lira City boundaries. In the media fraternity Francis Okello Olwa has been equated to the former Iraq’s minister of information during the American joint forces invasion of Iraq in the 90s known for reckless, baseless and shameless talks.”
A January 19, 2022 letter addressed to the Permanent Secretary of Lands Ministry, Mr Anthony Ojuka, a concerned citizen brought to the attention of the Permanent Secretary the poor management of Lira Ministry Zonal Office by the head of the unit, Mr Francis Ateng.
Mr Ojuka reported how Ateng had become a land broker conniving with officials in Local government to illegally process land titles of the government land and disposing them off.
“……worse of all, when those deals are being executed, all other land transactions of local persons are always suspended under his instructions….”the letter reads in part.
In another letter dated January 31, 2022, addressed to the Inspector General of Government (IGG), Mr Ojuka also complained on the alleged fraudulent dealings on government land within Lira City/District by the Lira Ministry Zonal Office.
He claimed to be receiving death threats from Mr Francis Ateng in person as a result of the complaint letter dated Jan 19, 2022 addressed to the PS Lands coercing him to withdraw from pursuing the matter or else count himself dead.
“……….. I reported this matter to Lira City East Division Police Station SD REF: 33/31/01/2022 threatening violence. On top of the death threats, Mr Francis Ateng told me openly that I am wasting my time on him, not knowing that he is highly connected to all the senior officials of the Ministry of lands and nothing can happen to him…….,” the letter reads in part.
Ojuka pledged to avail the IGG with the necessary evidence in form of documents to facilitate investigations into this matter to its logical conclusion. He said he is ready to line up a team of people who are willing to testify and avail you with more evidence in respect of the above.