File photo: Evelyn Anite
Kampala, Uganda | State Minister for privatization and Investment Evelyn Anite has said that a number of fake investors are being aided by middlemen and land brokers to grab land from bonafide Ugandan occupants.
Anite says that the middlemen front non-existent foreign investors to cheaply secure land from the government and that a number of such fake deals have been cancelled by her ministry after the investors failed to comply to the agreed investment terms.
Anite was testifying in a land scandal involving the Jinja West Member of Parliament Moses Grace Balyeku and an Indian Born Ugandan Investor Thummar Jay Magnalal Patel. The land measuring five acres on Plot 24 B Kyabazinga Way in Nalufenya, Jinja Municipality is claimed by two Investors; Tirupati Development Uganda Limited and Thummar Jay Magnalal Patel.
It is alleged that there was a fraudulent transfer of land to Patel, facilitated by Jinja West Member of Parliament Moses Grace Balyeku at 2.4 billion Shillings’ shillings. Tirupati Development alleges that it was defrauded of the land having secured a sub-lease over it from Jinja Municipal Council on October 31, 2007, for setting up a public Recreation Park.
Documents obtained by the Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters indicates that Patel’s freehold title was granted on August 2, 2019. Jinja Municipality West MP Moses Balyeku has since backed Patel’s title as genuine telling the Commission that he fronted Patel, his business associate to prevent the development from being entangled into local politics.
Officials of Jinja District Land Board have since denied approving the grant of the title to Patel citing forgery of meeting Minutes, duress and influence peddling among others. Anite this morning told the commission that middlemen such as Balyeku are Criminal Mafias presenting barriers to investment in the country.
Anite was summoned by the Commission of Inquiry into Land matters to explain why she recommended Thummar Jay Magnalal Patel to the Lands Minister Betty Amongi for assistance in finding suitable land for setting up his shopping Mall in Jinja Municipality.
But she told the Commission that the responsibilities for the transaction must be placed at the feet of the Ministry of Lands as the mandate and not the Ministry in charge of the investment. She said her ministry is only charged with finding land for domestic and foreign investors intending to set up mega investments in industrial parks, not shopping malls, like the case is, for the land in question.
Anite added that she authored the letter after MP Balyeku approached her office to assist the alleged investor to find the land and gazette his land in Buikwe as an industrial park for him to benefit from investment incentives and invite President Yoweri Museveni to commission 10 out of 20 factories he had set up in Jinja.
On Tuesday, Lands Minister Betty Amongi said she acted on recommendations from her counterpart Evelyn Anite who had given her the impression that the investor had the backing of State House and senior politicians from Jinja Municipality.
Anite said she expected the Lands Minister Betty Amongi to respond to her letter before the land was allocated to the investor, but was surprised that the Minister never wrote back. She said the next thing she heard about the investor was that he was under investigations for securing freehold title over public land.
Statement: The Energy Sector Strategy 2024–2028 Must Mark the End of the EBRD’s Support to Fossil Fuels
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is due to publish a new Energy Sector Strategy before the end of 2023. A total of 130 civil society organizations from over 40 countries have released a statement calling on the EBRD to end finance for all fossil fuels, including gas.
From 2018 to 2021, the EBRD invested EUR 2.9 billion in the fossil energy sector, with the majority of this support going to gas. This makes it the third biggest funder of fossil fuels among all multilateral development banks, behind the World Bank Group and the Islamic Development Bank.
The EBRD has already excluded coal and upstream oil and gas fields from its financing. The draft Energy Sector Strategy further excludes oil transportation and oil-fired electricity generation. However, the draft strategy would continue to allow some investment in new fossil gas pipelines and other transportation infrastructure, as well as gas power generation and heating.
In the statement, the civil society organizations point out that any new support to gas risks locking in outdated energy infrastructure in places that need investments in clean energy the most. At the same time, they highlight, ending support to fossil gas is necessary, not only for climate security, but also for ensuring energy security, since continued investment in gas exposes countries of operation to high and volatile energy prices that can have a severe impact on their ability to reach development targets. Moreover, they underscore that supporting new gas transportation infrastructure is not a solution to the current energy crisis, given that new infrastructure would not come online for several years, well after the crisis has passed.
The signatories of the statement call on the EBRD to amend the Energy Sector Strategy to
- fully exclude new investments in midstream and downstream gas projects;
- avoid loopholes involving the use of unproven or uneconomic technologies, as well as aspirational but meaningless mitigation measures such as “CCS-readiness”; and
- strengthen the requirements for financial intermediaries where the intended nature of the sub-transactions is not known to exclude fossil fuel finance across the entire value chain.
Download the statement: https://www.iisd.org/system/files/2023-09/ngo-statement-on-energy-sector-strategy-2024-2028.pdf
Complaint against unprofessional conduct of the DPC Kiryandongo district for aiding and abetting land grabbing in kiryandongo district.
Professional Standards Unit, Uganda Police-Kampala.
RE: COMPLAINT AGAINST UNPROFESSIONAL CONDUCT OF THE DPC KIRYANDONGO DISTRICT FOR AIDING AND ABETTING LAND GRABBING IN NYAMUTENDE KITWARA PARISH KIRYANDONGO DISTRICT AND CARRYING OUT ILLEGAL ARRESTS AND DETENTION OF INNOCENT RESIDENTS/ BIBANJA OWNERS FOR PROTESTING AGAINST THE ILLEGAL EVICTION FROM THEIR LAND.
We act for and behalf of the Lawful and bonafide occupants of Land described as LRV MAS 2 FOLIO 8 BLOCK 8 PLOT 22 (FORMERLY KNOWN AS RANCH 22).
Our Clients are residents of Nyamutende Village, Kitwara Parish in Kiryandongo District where they have lived for more than 30 years and sometime in 2017, they applied for a lease of the said Land to Kiryandongo District Land Board through the Directorate of Land Matters State House.
As they were still awaiting their Application to be processed, they were shocked to establish that the said land had been instead leased to and registered in the names of Isingoma Julius, Mwesige Simon, John Musokota William, Tumusiime Gerald, Wabwire Messener Gabriel, Ocema Richard and Wilson Shikhama, some of whom were not known to the Complainants. A copy of the Search is attached hereto
Our clients protested the above action and appealed to relevant offices, but were shocked to discover that the above persons had gone ahead and sold the same to a one Maseruka Robert.
Aggrieved by these actions, the Complainants appealed to the RDC who advised them to institute proceedings against the said persons, and assigned them a one Mbabazi Samuel to assist them to that effect. The said Mbabazi accordingly filed Civil Suit Noa 46 of 2019 against tne said registered proprietors at Masindi High Court challenging the illegal and fraudulent registration, sale and transfer of the subject land to Maseruka Robert.
While awaiting the progress of the case mentioned hereinabove, the Complainants were surprised to find that the said Mbabazi, instead of assisting them, he went into a consent settling the said suit on their behalf without their knowledge or consent. A copy of the Consent is attached hereto.
Among the terms of the said consent Judgment was that the residents would be compensated without specifying how much and would in return vacate the Land.
As if that was not enough, Maseruka Robert and Mbabazi Samuel are going ahead to execute the said Consent Judgment by forcefully evicting the occupants without compensation which has prompted the complainants to challenge the said Consent by applying for its review and setting aside at Masindi High Court which is coming up for hearing on the 29th March 2023. A copy of the Application is attached hereto.
Sensing the imminent threat of eviction, we also filed an application for interim stay of execution of the said consent to avoid rendering their application for review nugatory but unfortunately the same could not be heard on the date it was fixed for hearing (6th February 2023). A copy of the Application is attached hereto
On Thursday last week, three tractors being operated by 6 workers of a one Mbabazi Samuel [the very person who had been entrusted to represent our Clients to secure their Land through Civil Suit No.46 of 2019] encroached close to 50 acres of our Clients’ land and started ploughing it but our Client’s protested and chased them away.
We have however been shocked to receive information from our Clients that on Sunday at Mid night, 3 police patrols invaded the community in the night and arrested community members; Mulenje Jack, Steven Kagyenji, Mulekwa David, Ntambala Geoffrey, Tumukunde Isaac 15 years, Kanunu Innocent, Mukombozi Frank, Kuzara, Rwamunyankole Enock, and took them to Kiryandongo Police Station where they are currently detained.
We strongly protest the illegal arrests and detention of our Clients as this is a carefully orchestrated land grabbing scheme by Maseruka Robert and Mbabazi Samuel who are receiving support from the DPC Kiryandongo.
The purpose of this Letter therefore is to request your good office to investigate the misconduct, abuse of office and unprofessionalism of the said DPC Kiryandongo District and all his involvement in the land grabbing schemes on land formerly known as Ranch 22.
Looking forward to your urgent intervention,
C.C The Head Police Land Protection Unit Police Head Quarters Naguru
CC The RDC Kiryandongo District
CC The Chairman LCVKityadongo District
CC The Regional Police CommanderAlbertine Region
The Executive Director of Witness Radio Uganda talks about the role played by Witness Radio in protecting communities affected by large-scale agribusinesses in Kiryandongo district in an interview with the ILC.
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