Controversy yesterday emerged over how the ruling National Resistance Movement acquired land for their planned party headquarters with the opposition accusing the ruling party of using money from unclear sources for the proposed 27-storey building on land that was irregularly acquired.
According to the shadow Minister of Lands, Mr Ssemuju Nganda, the NRM is using its current position as the party in power to strip Ugandans of land that is constitutionally granted to them to build its own offices.
“The whole project is marred with irregularities, the acquisition of land, the people who are fundraising for the construction and even the money they already have. It is however, easier to nationalise a building, so let them use stolen money on stolen land, we shall take them back when the time comes,” Mr Ssemuju told this newspaper in a telephone interview.
However, the NRM Financial Commission in-charge of the whole project has denied the allegations saying that the land was legally and through the right procedure leased out at a cost between Shs350million and Shs500 million.
“We followed the right procedures to acquire the land. We applied for it and it was leased to us,” Ms Amelia Kyambadde, the chairperson to the Financial Commission of NRM, said. She however could not give the actual amount the party paid for the controversial land that once belonged to East African Community.
According to the NRM, the number of years the lease is supposed to stand is yet to be determined once the construction of the Movement House is over.
The 1.7 acre land which sits on plots 28, 30, 32, 34 of Nile Avenue and 36 on Hannington Road, was initially a property of the East African Community. However after its collapse it was transferred back to the Uganda Land Commission.
The Chairman Uganda Land Commission, Mr Joash Mayanja Nkangi, when contacted referred this newspaper to the Secretary Land commission who was reportedly out of office since it was after official work time.
The NRM launched a fundraising drive last week, to solicit funds for the construction and it is expected construction will commence by December this year.
The Movement Building is to be constructed in phases and the first phase is expected to cost Shs30billion.
The Account under the name, Masindi October 20 in Housing Finance Bank in which the donations are being kept, is currently holding a total of Shs2 billion solicited by the president from his friends.