MP Rukaari fails to defend purchase of railway land

MP Rukaari and Janet Kobusingye the owner Mestil hotel appear before COSASE. PHOTO | URN

What you need to know:

  • As part of the means to re-capitalize URC, which was struggling, the Government decided to sell off part of 57 acres of its land in Nsambya and Kibuli at Shs 69.5 billion. 
  • However, 10 years later, URC is yet to receive the money accruing from the sale of the land.

Mbarara North Division legislator, Mr Robert Mwesigwa Rukaari on Tuesday shocked fellow Members of Parliament when he said that he forgot the bank he used to pay for the purchase of the Uganda Railway Corporation (URC) land in Nsambya, Kampala.  
Mr Rukaari acquired three plots of land belonging to URC in Port Bell and Mulago at Shs 357million in 2009.  

As part of the means to re-capitalize URC, which was struggling, the Government decided to sell off part of 57 acres of its land in Nsambya and Kibuli at Shs 69.5 billion. 
URC transferred the land to Uganda Land Commission (ULC) before it was parceled out to investors. 

However, 10 years later, URC is yet to receive the money accruing from the sale of the land.  Investigations by the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities, and State Enterprise (COSASE) on the whereabouts of the money, show that some beneficiaries could have received the land free of charge. 

The committee has since grilled the Uganda Land Commission (ULC) and Privatization Unit officials who all denied having knowledge of the funds.

Mr Rukaari appeared before the committee chaired by the Nakawa West legislator, Mr Joel Ssenyonyi, as one of the beneficiaries of the URC land.   
Tasked to show proof of purchase, Mr Rukaari said that he used a bank draft, which was not receipted. He shocked the committee further when he claimed that he couldn’t remember the bank where he executed the transaction. 

“How then do you protect yourself when you are saying that they didn’t give you a receipt. What will they deny you tomorrow?” Mr Ssenyonyi wondered.

He (Rukaari) later showed the committee receipts for the payment of 10 percent for the three plots of land he acquired. He also told the committee that after procuring the land in Nsambya he donated it to his workers since the two plots were less than an acre.

“The two are small, not even an acre. Usually as accompany we do pay back every end of year to our employees, so I gave out the two properties and sold one, I can even confirm who I sold it to and when,” Mr Rukaari said.

His responses were, however, not satisfactory, something that prompted the committee to send him away with strong caution that he appears next week with proof or be arrested.



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