Uganda Railways Corporation (URC) officials were squeezed by the parliamentary Committee of Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) before kicking them out out for lack of proper documentation on the sale of the corporation property.
The officials had appeared before the committee to answer queries in the Auditor General’s report about the inventories and status of property ownership.
Committee Chairperson, Hon Joel Ssenyonyi said the committee was not satisfied with the land in question that was sold without the knowledge of the government entity.
“Being a government entity, the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets procedures had to be followed during the disposal. What was the rational? Does this mean URC has a lot of property? Were you looking for money and decided to sell?” he asked.
The URC Legal Officer, Sarah Nambasa-Masembe informed the members that the properties were disposed of by the Privatisation Unit.
“Some of the properties were earmarked by the Privatisation Unit (PU) as non-core assets for disposal. The Ministry of Finance sold the land and we only executed the agreement and signed the documents,” Nambasa-Masembe said.
The URC Managing Director, Stanley Ssendegeya said that at the time, URC neither participated in the sell process nor received any monies.
“The Privatisation Unit being a government privatization body was mandated to transact business on behalf of government; it took charge of all the disposal process of the land in different parts of the city and these transactions were handled by Ministry of Finance,” Ssendegeya said.
The Buzaaya County MP, Hon Martin Mugabe Muzaale noted that the property in Nsambya was sold to individuals.
“The land belongs to URC but why are there private investors like Mestil and the shopping arena in Nsambya? This was prime land you must have gained a lot of money from these sales,” he said.
Hon Muwada Nkuyingi (NUP, Kyadondo County East) was concerned that government land was sold to individuals like Robert Mwesigye and Marco Lutaaya who own prime properties.
“Why was government land sold to individuals? What was the interest in these properties? Can we say it was an inside job?” he asked.
The properties in question are in Nsambya, Mutungo, Kololo, Nalukolongo and Mulago.