Lands Boss Cited In Land Grab Scandal
A top Ministry of Lands official who is in charge as Commissioner Mapping & Surveys Wilson Ogaro based in Entebbe stands accused by Ben Hazards Torach, an engineer with Ministry of Agriculture (MAAIF) of improper conduct.
In a letter to Lands Minister Betty Amongin, which is also copied to State House, Torach lays claim on Plot 2 Mulambuzi Square in Kigungu Entebbe Municipality. Here is a house which Torach has occupied since 2001.
He says under the Civil Servants Pool House scheme, he applied as sitting tenant and got the house allocated in consultation with Uganda Land Commission (ULC) which owns all this land on behalf of civil servants.
Torach is bitter when he proceeded to register his lease interest (initially for 5 years of development lease preceding the 49 years), he was blocked when it turned out someone else was claiming to be the owner of the land.
This shocked Torach because this was clearly government land that has for decades been under the MAAIF staff. The man, rivaling Torach’s interest, claimed to be the registered proprietor of the land which he maintained was allocated to him by Wakiso district land board.
The man even produced surveying reports indicating the land wasn’t part of what belongs to MAAIF under the ULC. This irked Torach who petitioned Ogaro’s department whose unhelpful officers went ahead to produce surveying reports backing the other man’s claim, something he found very strange.
In his letter to Amongin Torach accuses Ogaro of not being enthusiastic enough to protect government land yet this is his duty. Torach says the Mapping and surveying department staff falsified surveying information to defeat his/MAAIF’s claim in favor of the private businessman whom he says has compromised everybody in the area including local area land committees, Entebbe Municipality leaders, Wakiso district land board and staff in Mapping and Surveying department.
Torach claims the businessman has also compromised police in the area whose bosses are always on his side. However, in a phone call Ogaro denied wrong doing adding that prompted by the PS’ letter, his department was planning to go with all stakeholders on the site and have fresh surveying exercise to establish the truth.
He says his department only acts upon a file that is forwarded to them by ULC where Torach is supposed to have applied for the deed plans and title issuance. That on 23rd February last Thursday, a meeting was held at his department to resolve Torach’s complaint and that it was agreed that basing on the new surveying report (whatever it reveals), one of the competing titles will have to be cancelled because there can’t have two titles for the same piece of land.
The fresh surveying teams were supposed to have visited the scene over the weekend and their report was yet to be available by press time.