Mestil owner fails to produce  Nsambya land documents

Mestil Hotel proprietor,  Ms Janet Kobusingye, appears before the parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises on February 9, 2022. PHOTO/DAVID LUBOWA

What you need to know:

  • Although Ms Janet Kobusingye says the original documents got burnt, the MPs insist she should provide the duplicate copies.

The  proprietor of Mestil  Hotel and Residences,  Ms Janet Kobusingye, yesterday  stunned  the committee investigating  the Nsambya railway land deals  when she said the key documents detailing how she acquired the Naguru land, that was swapped for the one in Nsambya, got  burnt in a fire.

Ms Kobusingye made the revelation while appearing before the parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) chaired by the Nakawa West MP, Mr Joel Ssenyonyi. 
The Ssenyonyi-led committee is inquiring into how the current occupants and developers of the Nsambya land that previously belonged to the Uganda Railways Corporation (URC) gained ownership of the said land.
This is the second time Ms Kobusingye is appearing before the committee to explain how she acquired the four acres of land part of which houses Mestil Hotel.
The first time she appeared before the same committee was in November last year when lawmakers sent her back demanding she presents clear documents regarding ownership of the land.
But yesterday, the Mestil proprietor told MPs that the original land purchase documents including those for the 5.8 acres at Nakawa-Naguru estate were burnt in a fire that gutted her offices on Plot 28 Nakivubo Road, downtown Kampala. 

“Way back we got a problem and my property downtown got burnt including the documents. Most of my important documents like receipts got burnt,” Ms Kobusingye said.
She, however, could not state the exact date her offices were burnt.
“I think it was 2014, I don’t remember very well.  I think it was a problem of the power circuit or something like that,” Ms Kobusingye said.
She added that  the documents that were burnt include the land sale agreements and payment receipts, among others.

In reply, Mr Ssenyonyi wondered how his committee would arrive at a conclusive position over who the rightful owner of the said land is.
Ms Kobusingye immediately referred the committee to the Kampala District Land Board (KDLB) reasoning that she had procured the land from the board through the late Francis Kakumba.

Kakumba died of  coronavirus disease.
“I think the Kampala Land Board are the right people who you can trace [the land documents]. They are still in existence to tell you how they sold that land,” Ms Kobusingye said.
Ms Kobusingye is said to be among those who purchased the 5.8 acres of the Naguru land.
She  is reportedly  among those that were affected when government relocated occupants of the said land to pave way  for development.

 Government later resolved to compensate the project affected  persons with land at Nsambya that previously belonged to the URC.
Late last year, as the URC management interfaced with the committee, it emerged that no money had been remitted to  the corporation for the Nsambya land.
To this end, the committee has since questioned with some of the persons who benefited from the swap.
Even when Ms Kobusingye failed to avail the required documents, the lawmakers tasked her to trace for duplicate copies.

 “We certainly must get to the bottom of this matter because this is a public matter. So we are insisting that you find us some documents showing transfer of ownership,” Mr Ssenyonyi told Ms Kobusingye.