State minister for privatization Aston Kajara could be in trouble for allegedly directing what the parliamentary committee on legal and parliamentary affairs deem as an irregular sale of the Coffee Marketing Board (CMB) and home of Agoa located in Bugolobi.
The committee chaired by Steven Tashobya (Kajara) along with representatives of former Coffee Marketing Board employees during a field tour of the former premises on Friday discovered that the premises were freely given away to an investor yet to be identified on directives of minister Kajara and the president.
The revelation by the general manager of Uganda property holdings Martin Kihembo follows a petition to the committee by the former employees of the CMB over nonpayment before the board was dissolved and given away to the alleged investor.
According to Kihembo he acted on directives by minister Kajara last year to dispose of the premises including buildings, land, machinery and equipment among other things to an investor he declined to name before journalists but promised to furnish the committee with details in that regard in writing at an appropriate time.
The committee now in its final stages of compiling a report to parliament in regard to the petition by the former CMB employees led to the inspection of the premises. The former workers who were laid off before receiving payments claim money to a tune of about shs12 billion shillings.
The committee is currently investigating the claims in the petition by former workers of the Uganda coffee marketing board who say that the property belonging to the coffee marketing board was disposed of without paying their benefits.
The committee has however found out that Government is currently earning shs 4m per month as rent from the Coffee Marketing Board properties from the investor.
The committee has also demanded that Kihembo gives it detailed information on who authorised the demolition of the buildings, documents indicating how government got the tenants, where the money in rent goes and how it’s used as well as the tenant agreement between Uganda property holdings on behalf of government and the investor.
According to the petitioners led by Basiima Kabonesa, the properties had been valued at shs33 billion shillings in 1995 but four years later the properties lost value to about 6 billion shillings, another query the committee has to probe.
Property valuing was done by private valuer- Bageine property holdings instead of a government valuer.
Kihembo notes that machinery and equipment was valued at 2 billion shillings. The land and building valued at 4 billion shillings.
Kihembo says the former employees want parliament to pass a resolution forcing government to repossess the properties to ensure value for money.
264 employees petitioned court demanding 1.3 billion shillings while their colleagues totalling to 1568 petitioned parliament demanding shs10.3b.