The government will before the end of this year pay Bumeru Estate Limited, a company owned by a former foreign affairs minister in the UPC government, Shs20b in compensation for land it took over in Mutumba Sub-county, Namayingo District.
This was revealed by the Namayingo Resident District Commissioner, Mr John Wafula Ogumbo this week.
The award to Mr Sam Odaka’s firm follows a High Court order, compelling government to pay Shs20 billion in compensation for the 2,400 hectares of land.
More than 25,000 residents had sued Bumeru Estate, claiming ownership of the said land but lost the case in 2005.
The High Court in Jinja established that the company owned by Mr Odaka and former Iganga South East MP Norman Masiga had legally acquired the land in 1971, but failed to take effective occupation due to the political turmoil at that time.
Court ordered the residents to vacate the said land because they had taken advantage of the situation to illegally settle on it.
The tenants refused to heed the court order, prompting government to intervene. “We cannot let our people be displaced yet they are strong supporters of the NRM. Besides, government had sunk too much money into the development of health centres, schools, roads and water sources on the said land. Where do all those projects go?” Mr Ogumbo asked. He said the government will allocate the land to the sitting tenant when the compensation process is complete.