Parliament Appoints Committee To Probe Naguru Land― Is Junior Lands Minister, Sam Mayanja In Trouble For ‘Impersonating’ Nabakooba?

Junior Lands State Minister, Sam Mayanja could be in trouble as Parliament starts a probe into his handling of allocations of the government-owned land in the prime Naguru suburb.

While chairing the plenary on Tuesday, 01st March 2022, the Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon Anita Among, decried the confusion related to the Naguru – Nakawa land which she said has highlighted failures at the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development and the Uganda Lands Commission.

“I have noted with concern the fights related to the Naguru – Nakawa land. This highlights failure at the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development and the Uganda Lands Commission. The land has been parcelled and is being cleared without these conflicts being resolved. It is a shame. It is time that we embarked on our oversight mandate to root out these vices from the operation of Government departments and agencies,” said Rt. Hon Anita Among.

“I am therefore invoking rule 191 to nominate an Adhoc committee for approval by this House to investigate these matters and report to this House within two weeks,” she ordered.

The committee will be chaired by Hon Dan Atwijukire (NRM, Kazo County). It also includes Hon Agnes Apea, Anthony Akol, Aisha Kabanda, Asuman Basalirwa, Jonathan Ebwalu, Dickson Kateshumbwa, Sarah Opendi and Ritah Atukwasa.

The appointment of the committee follows recent revelations that junior lands Minister, Hon Sam Mayanja had written a letter to President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, purportedly on instructions of the senior Lands Minister, Judith Nabakooba urging the president to intervene to have the process to allocate the prime Naguru land to investors.

“In all humility, I implore you to give a green light to conclude the allocation process. The faster we get this issue of Naguru land out of the way, the better, in order to pave the way for the development of an Eco satellite city, as well as getting rid of the mushrooming illegal constructions. This was on the instruction of the senior minister (Hon Judith Nabakooba), who is currently out of the country on official duties,” Mr, Mayanja wrote.

Nabakooba has however since denied ever issuing such instructions, leaving unanswered questions as to why the Minister lied to the president.

In an interview with the Daily Monitor newspaper, Nabakooba said the November 2, 2021 letter was written in her absence, while she was on a trip abroad and that she does not remember ever instructing Mayanja to write to the President on her behalf.

“My instructions are always on the record. I don’t give verbal instructions. How can I give instructions when I don’t even know any of the applicants? I don’t know those people. I didn’t handle that matter,” Nabakooba told the Daily Monitor newspaper.

“The letter was written in my absence as I had travelled out of the country and I don’t remember instructing anybody to write to the President on my behalf. I don’t instruct other people to write to the President on my behalf. I write my letters. I don’t remember telling anybody to write to the President. Something must be wrong somewhere,” Nabakooba added.

Is Hon Sam Mayanja conflicted?

This publication understands that Mayanja, over and above attempting to drag the President into the fray, has since tried to solicit the intervention of the Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Robinah Nabbanja.

“I was today compelled to urgently intervene in the Nakawa-Naguru wrangles which were becoming violent. I managed to cool down tempers and Stakeholders agreed to stop all activities on Nakawa-Naguru land for three (3) months effective today, to allow Government to come up with a win-win solution for all.

The purpose of this letter is to request for your urgent intervention in this matter which has been raised several times on the floor of Parliament. I wish to suggest that for starters your Rt. Hon. Prime Minister calls a Meeting which should be attended by; a) The Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development b) Uganda Land Commission c) Attorney General. The Meeting will set the agenda for the further management of the Nakawa-Naguru issue,” Mayanja wrote to the OPM on 23rd February.

At the heart of Mayanja’s interests, it appears is the protection of the interests of one company, Multi Consult Designs Limited, owned by a one, Karim Somani.

Information has also since surfaced that a day before writing to the OPM, Mr. Mayanja had also written to the Uganda Land Commisison, asking them to intervene on behalf Multi Consult Designs Limited.

In the 22nd February 2022 letter to the acting chairperson of the Uganda Land Commission (ULC)  that CEO East African Magazine has seen, Mr. Mayanja wrote:

“My Office has received a petition from Mr. Karim Somani, Managing Director, Multi Consult Designs Limited in which he alleged that the Uganda Land Commission is in violation of the Consent Agreement entered in between the Attorney General and Opec Prime Properties (U) Limited in that whereas the Consent Agreement reserved 3.3 acres for plots 1-10 Eureka Close into the names at; Opec Prime Properties Ltd and Multi Consult Designs Limited J.V, the Uganda Land Commission has apparently gone ahead and allocated this parcel of land to other parties who are now vandalizing the property already put up by Multi Consult Designs Limited. The purpose of this letter is to invite your Commission to a locus visit tomorrow 23rd February 2022 at midday to verify or otherwise dispute the allegations. This will diffuse this apparent explosive matter.”

Opec Prime Properties is the company that was originally supposed to develop the Naguru Land, which was allocated to it by the government but has since failed, leading the government to repossess the land.

Among the allocations of the land, according to information tabled by ULC before the parliamentary committee on physical infrastructure and also listed in the minister’s letter to the President, are Internal Medicine of Virginia PC (15 acres) and Uganda Heart Institute (10 acres). These two allocations are based on a presidential directive.

The other private individuals and companies that were allocated 50 acres of land in anticipation of investing a total of $578.2m (sh2 trillion), National Library; Anil Damani, Arab Oil Supplies and Exploration Limited, Dashen (U) Limited, Dembe Enterprises Limited; Dominion Partners Limited, EACON International Limited and Fakhruddin Properties Limited.

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