Minister orders a probe into sale of hospital land

State Minister for Economic Monitoring Peter Ogwang (2nd left) and his team visit the contested land in Nyangole Village, Tororo Town, on Monday. PHOTO / JOSEPH OMOLLO

What you need to know:

  • The minister issued the directive on Monday while in the district to monitor the implementation of government programmes.

The State minister for Economic Monitoring in the Office of the President, Mr Peter Ogwang, has called for an investigation into the alleged sale of Tororo Hospital land.

The minister issued the directive on Monday while in the district to monitor the implementation of government programmes.

‘’It’s sad to note that public land has been sold to private developers and I am sure that it’s our own people who assisted them to acquire the land by giving them titles. I, therefore, direct my team to initiate an investigation to ascertain circumstances under which these individuals acquired the land,’’ he said.

‘’It’s disheartening to see the government channelling resources towards improvement of people’s lives and a section of people are diverting them for their personal gains and moreover, they are doing it with a lot of impunity that we want to break,’’ Mr Ogwang added.

The land in question is located in Nyangole ‘’A’’  Village, Eastern Division, in Tororo Municipality, and it once hosted a treatment centre for casualties of World War II. The land was under the management of the Uganda Land Commission but has been divided into plots and permanent structures have been constructed on it.

The hospital also has plans to relocate its staff houses to the said land after the current quarters adjacent to the facility were affected by Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).

Whereas the alleged sale of the hospital land is not yet confirmed, some of the occupants who spoke to the Daily Monitor claim that they acquired land from the district officials through their agents who encouraged them to pay for the plots. When contacted, the district chief administrative officer, Mr Dunstan Balaba, said they are aware of the fraudulent actions on the land.

He said as part of efforts to protect public land, the district council has allocated funds in the next financial year to have all land surveyed and titled.

“This is just one of the many cases of encroachment on public land we have recorded and all this has been as a result of ignoring to survey and title public land,” Mr Balaba said.

“However, we have taken it as a priority in our planning and so far, we have secured 10 titles; we expect to secure more in the next financial year,” he added.

The district chairperson, Mr John Okeya, told this newspaper that the coming of the minister is a big relief because the district has lost most of its public land.

Earlier in the day, members of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament led by Ms Sarah Achieng Opendi (Tororo Woman MP) visited Tororo hospital.

The hospital medical superintendent, Dr Thomas Ochar, told the MPs that they are in a dilemma because SGR has not compensated them  for the land housing the staff quarters.

“We feel that the valuation of four years back is outdated and we are demanding for the Standard Gauge Railway to revalue our properties to match the current cost of living; otherwise we are ready to vacate to pave the way for the construction of the railway,’’  Dr Ochar said.

The Monitor has also learnt that the the hospital was supposed to have received Shs2.5 billion in 2018.

When contacted, the communications officer of the SGR project, Mr David Mugabe Alele, said compensation of institutions such as health facilities and schools involves huge sums of money, adding that  plans are underway to expedite the compensation.

Welcome!

You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.