Uganda: Igg Weighs in On Bukalasa Agriculture College Land Giveaway

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The Inspector General of Government (IGG) has demanded the cancellation of land title certificates believed to have been erroneously issued on land belonging to Bukalasa Agriculture College without making reference to the original freehold titles.

The land in question covering approximately 33.52 hectares was irregularly transferred to Luweero District Administration under five new freehold titles for land on Block 146 Bulemezi in October 2006 after a successful application at the Uganda Land Commission, an act that the IGG investigation report, observes as irregular since it denied the original land owner, Bukalasa Agriculture College, the privilege of ownership and subsequent utilisation.

The March 24 IGG letter seen by the Daily Monitor and addressed to the chairperson of Uganda Land Commission ( ULC) adds to the many land ownership battles that Bukalasa Agriculture College has gone through, including the famous 2012 land feud with the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces over land measuring 98 acres at Bukalasa.

The army claimed the land in question had been allocated by Luweero District Administration for construction of a UPDF referral Hospital in Luweero District.

While the IGG spokesperson Munira Ali confirms that the letter detailing the investigation report and recommendations regarding the land originates from the IGG’s office, the chairperson of ULC, Ms Beatrice Byenkya, on May 26 said she had not yet received the letter.

“I have personally not accessed the IGG report regarding the Bukalasa Agriculture College land but I just heard rumours regarding this particular report. I will have to attend to that matter. As of now, I cannot comment since it (letter) is not yet at my desk,” Ms Byenkya said.

The IGG report

The investigation report faults and describes the entire subdivision process of the land as irregular when Luweero District Local Government through the UCL in 2006, was issued with five freehold certificate land titles under Block 146 Bulemezi for parcels of land on Plots 358, 359-365,366, 367, and 368.

It states that the five new certificates of titles were erroneously created without making reference to the original freehold titles comprised on Freehold Register Volume (FRV33 Folio 2) dated July 7, 1931, and Freehold Register Volume (FRV38 Folio 4) dated April 28, 1933.

The report also states that at Independence, the land comprised in FRV 33 Folio 2 and FVR 38 Folio 4 was vested to the ULC under the Public Ordinance of 1962. The Department of Land Registration in 2017 recognised the error and attempted to cancel the certificates but never concluded the process, the IGG stated.

In May 2019, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), requested ULC to issue a new certificate of title in the name of Bukalasa Agriculture College. However, by the time of writing the investigation report in March 2020, the new certificate had not been issued, the report concludes.

Asked about the findings regarding land belonging to the oldest and only remaining public agriculture college at Bukalasa, the permanent secretary of MAAIF, Mr Pius Wakabi Kasajja, indicated that he was conversant and has been at the forefront of ensuring that the Land is protected but was not aware of the new IGG investigation report.

“We have a Lands ministry committee that dealt with the land issues at Bukalasa Agriculture College decisively two years ago. We asked the ministry to cancel the land titles that had been issued fraudulently,” he said.

As part of the recommendations, the IGG wants UCL to liaise with the commissioner of land registration to invoke powers and procedures under Section 91(1), (2) and (8) of the Land Act Cap 227 to cancel the erroneously issued certificates.

The IGG requested MAAIF to confirm whether or not the ministry objects to the subdivision of the Bukalasa Agriculture College Land for purposes of availing land to Luweero District Local Government and Ministry of Land Housing and Urban Development (MLHUD) for establishment of ministerial zonal offices and thereafter submit the response to ULC for consideration. The process aims at having a new land title.

ULC is supposed to confirm the implementation of the recommendations within 90 days from March 24, when the investigation report and letter detailing the findings and recommendations were presented.

Bukalasa Agriculture College principal Gelvan Kisolo said government through the Agriculture ministry had made major interventions aimed at protecting the college land from further encroachment.

Background

Agriculture college

Bukalasa Agriculture College started as a Cotton breeding centre in 1920 but later upgraded to an agriculture training college in 1957.

The institution offers a wide range of agriculture related diplomas and certificates. Located in central Uganda in Luweero District, the institution is slated to celebrate its 100 years of anniversary this year.

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