Plan to lease school land angers leaders

A classroom block at Mahanga Primary School in Nagongera Town Council, Tororo District. The decision to lease  part of the school land to developers for commercial purposes has sparked anger among leaders in the district. PHOTO / JOSEPH OMOLLO

What you need to know:

  • The school management says the parents suggested that the school land be leased.

The decision to lease part of Mahanga Primary School land in Tororo to private developers for commercial purposes has sparked anger among leaders in the district.

The Monitor learnt that the decision to lease the land in Nagongera Town Council was made by the management of the school in 2018.

The developers, who each paid Shs400,000, were planning to construct lock-up shops on the land, which would become the property of the school once the 10 year-lease expired.

It was also discovered that the land has since been divided into 54 plots.

Mr Pius Opio, the Nagongera Town Council chairperson, said they learnt of the illegal transactions after receiving applications from individuals seeking approval for their building plans.

 “We have instructed the physical planner to halt the process because the developers had started ferrying materials on the land,” he said.

He added that the council has also directed the town council’s internal auditor to investigate the fraudulent act.

“We condemn the allocation and recommend those who were involved to refund the money and if possible be arrested for fraudulent act,” Mr Opio said.

Mr Obbo Oketch, the Nagongera Town Council councillor, said the school is struggling with a shortage of land and those who decided to partition the little that is available deserve to be persecuted.

“We appeal to other investigating arms of government, especially the anti-corruption unit of State House to get interested to reclaim the land,’’ Mr Obbo said.

However, the head teacher of the school, Ms Agnes Olowo, said the transactions were done by her predecessor, Ms Teddy Mary Nyadoi.

 “I saw in a report stating that there was a pending implementation of the school management committee decision to allow developers to construct lock-ups surrounding the school since they had already paid the required amount of money,” she said.

She added that she was later shocked to discover that the money that the former head teacher claimed to have been banked in Stanbic Bank had also been withdrawn and spent.

‘’What is hurting us as school administration is that the individuals who paid their money continue coming to demand for a refund or allow them to construct. This is disrupting teaching and learning,’’ she said.

school management committee responds

Mr Francis Odwar, who was a member of the school management committee during the transaction, said during an  annual general meeting at the school, parents asked the school management to lease out part of the school to developers.

“The parents argued that leasing out the land would help the school to generate revenue for the school to run development projects,” he said.

The chairperson of the school management committee, Mr Mathew Oluli, said: “We did not do it as a committee, but we did it after being guided by the parents and the then local leaders, therefore, we are being crucified for no reason.’’