MBALE: A Businessman has been arrested for reportedly grabbing part of Mbale central forest reserve under Namatale sector in Wanale division, Mbale municipality in Mbale district.
The commission of Inquiry into land matters chaired by Lady Justice Catherine Bamugemereire ordered the arrest of Mr Hamis Maasa a business man in Kampala.
Mr Maasa is detained at Mbale central police station pending investigations into the matter. His arrest comes after he failed to convince the commission how he got the 4.5 acre of land in the forest reserve on plot 21E.
Mr Maasa was arrested after being quizzed for about an hour by the commission for reportedly forging tittle, lying, bribery, grabbing government land among others.
“Since I don’t know where exactly you stay let me hand you to police for safe custody as investigations go on," Justice Bamugemereire said.
Earlier, Mr Maasa denied grabbing any land in the forest.
"I bought that land but I didn’t know that it was a forest reserve," said Mr Maasa.
The complainants allege that the forest land was sub divided by unknown people who have since started farming on the land.
Earlier, the Mbale district staff surveyor, Mr Edison Namara while appearing before the commission said people in Mbale have a habit of forging tittles with aim of grabbing the land.
“I have reported such cases of forgery of tittles at Mbale central police station but people have continued to forge the tittles,” he said.
He pinned the suspect Mr Hamis Maasa as one of them.
The Mbale Municipality Deputy Speaker, Mr Yasin Kawanguzi said people have deliberately sub divided the forest into plots without the council consent.
He said the forest was reserved for conservation of fresh air. “As Mbale municipality leaders we commend the work of this commission. They are doing a wonderful job,” said Mr Kawanguzi.
The commission started their probe on Monday and are expected to end on Friday this week.