Kampala- The Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters has started investigations into a Shs335 billion compensation claim by a group of persons affected by the construction of Isimba Dam in Kayunga District.
Evidence presented before the Commission yesterday indicated that 13 people are seeking compensation for the underground sand and rock in the land measuring about 28.5 acres, which has since been transferred to government.
Appearing before the commission chaired by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire in Wandegeya, Kampala, the chairperson of the Project Steering Committee of Karuma and Isimba dams, Mr Badru Kiggundu, described the costs as exorbitant, saying the claimants are seeking additional payments after they were fully compensated in 2014.
“These people were already compensated for the value set by government and signed release documents to government in 2014. Then they just came back later for additional payment for the land. Most of them were bibanja holders and the amounts of money being requested are constraining the execution of our project and they have led to securing a court order,” Mr Kiggundu said.
He added that the court order issued against the contractor, China International Water and Electric Corporation (CWE), is intended to freeze their bank account, which he said is unfair because the contractor does not acquire land.
Mr Kiggundu said nine bibanja claimants; Disson Nsubuga, Berenado Ssajjabi, John Apoogo, John Wafula, Okuni Owori, Adiliano Okuni, Ali Kagoda, Celina Etapu and Rose Achieng are demanding for Shs203 billion.
He said another claim was brought by former Ntenjeru County MP Tom Kazibwe and acting CAO Charles Magumba, who were customary holders, claiming Shs132 billion. Other claimants are Ms Ruth Sebadduka and Mr Charles Matovu laying claim with a title through another law firm.
Mr Kiggundu said an order for freezing of accounts of the contractor was issued on May 17 by Mukono High Court.
“As chairperson of the steering committee, I am deeply concerned because the contractor is constrained and has no operational funds to meet the day-to-day expenses. The contractor has notified us that they are not in position to continue operating and, therefore, the construction had to be suspended,” he said.
Commission lead counsel Ebert Byenkya said the investigation is in line with assessing the legal and policy framework on government land acquisition.