Land Commission operates without records of govt land

Uganda Land Commission acting secretary Andrew Nyumba (left) and the Undersecretary Daniel Mugurusi appear before Cosase at Parliament on Wednesday. PHOTO / DAVID LUBOWA

What you need to know:

  • ULC officials appeared before Parliament’s Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) to respond to audit queries for the Financial Year 2020/21.

Officials of the Uganda Land Commission (ULC) were on Wednesday put on the spot after it emerged that they do not have records of the land they are managing, raising fears that this opens channels for corruption.

ULC manages all government land across the country.

ULC officials appeared before Parliament’s Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) to respond to audit queries for the Financial Year 2020/21.

The committee led by Mr Joel Ssenyonyi (Nakawa West, NUP) tasked the members of ULC to explain whether they have an inventory of the assets they manage on behalf of the government of Uganda.

An inventory is a complete list of items such as property, goods in stock, or the contents of a building.

The members were by Mr Andrew Nyumba, the acting secretary of the Commission.

Mr Yusuf Nsibambi, the Mawokota South MP (FDC) further asked the team to come clean.

“I put this question to you. Do you have an inventory of all the government land under your control or not? Secondly, you have land to which you do not have titles but continue to sell this land to individuals. Is that true or not?” he stated.

Mr Nyumba, who is the substantive principal government valuer at the ministry of Lands, first told the committee that ULC has no inventory. When pressed, he told the committee that the commission has an inventory.

With the contradicting statements, the committee directed that he and the undersecretary, who is also the accounting officer of the commission, Mr Daniel Mugulusi, take oath before they could be allowed to proceed.

Shortly after taking the oath, Mr Ssenyonyi again asked the team whether the Commission has an inventory, to which they answered in the negative.

“The answer is no, but we have a list which we have been using. I thought this list is part of the inventory,” Mr Nyumba said.

The committee members disagreed with the team and wondered how a whole Commission with an independent vote to manage government land does not have an inventory of the assets under their possession.

“ULC business is land and if they don’t have inventory of the land, what are they doing? What business do they have?” Mr Nsibambi wondered.

Mr Nkunyingi Muwada (Kyadondo East, NUP) said the lack of an inventory is a deliberate move to defraud the country of land.

The ULC officials were yesterday expected back in the committee with documents to back their transactions during the financial year in question.

Other anomalies

The committee also cited other anomalies at the Commission such as dubious staff recruitments. It was revealed that the Commission is not connected to the land information management system, which was installed to manage all land transactions in the country.

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