Jinja – A section of local officials and tycoons in Jinja are reportedly being investigated over involvement in the duplicitous selling and repossession of former Asian properties, RedPepper Digital‘s Brian Musasiizi reports.
The departed Asians left behind properties which included businesses, stock and real estate and by law, under the Expropriated Properties Act, all properties that were left behind were vested in the government of Uganda under the authority and management of DAPCB.
Cases of duplicated allocation of properties, irregular disposal of properties, arrears of ground rent and unscrupulous property managers have for the previous years rocked Jinja Municipality.
‘’In a number of cases, tenants were at a loss as they have been pressed by “different landlords” to pay rent, each purporting to be owner or holders of a Custodian Board “allocation. Some of the current managers and officials from government could be accomplices to the sales. The fraudsters reportedly either forged the board’s documents, giving them “allocation” or leases, an interest they have passed on to unsuspecting buyers’’, a source said.
The Investigation conducted last year (2019) by the Parliament’s Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase), discovered that 27 of the Departed Asians’ properties that were illegally repossessed in Jinja District.
‘’A section of leaders and Tycoons have facilitated a lot of fraud at DAPCB where hundreds of properties have been stolen. We shall not name them for purposes of investigations but the list is long’’, a security source told Red Pepper.
The source added that some departed Asians properties that were fully compensated for by government ended up in hands of individuals and companies especially in Jinja Municipality.
In 2006, Jinja municipal council condemned 123 buildings, but most of them have not been demolished. Some of the affected buildings date way back to 1920. Most of the condemned buildings are located along Iganga, Lubas, Oboja, Spire, Gabula, Kirinya, Nadiope and Circular roads.
The Jinja Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Eric Sakwa told Red Pepper that a lot of irregularities have been found in the activities of DAPCB and several officials both within and outside Jinja are being investigated on allegations of fraudulently acquiring and selling properties formerly belonging to departed.
A Police report on Departed Asians’ Properties exposed a lot of anomalies in their acquisition. Authored by the former Jinja District CIID boss, ASP George Ochoola and addressed to The Executive Secretary, Departed Asians’ Property with Ref: CIID/98/VOLVII/67 on October 13, 2013, titled ‘Police Report in respect of the expropriated properties during the military regime in Jinja municipality suspected to have been fraudulently repossessed vide GEF:56/2013’ with several copies to the relevant authorities, the16 page report unearthed several irregularities.