Police probe city tycoons over land grabbing

A wetland at Kayunga Village in Wakiso District which was encroached on by private individuals. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • The probe was reportedly sanctioned by President Museveni following a public outcry over illegal evictions.

Police are investigating an unspecified number of Kampala City tycoons for alleged land grabbing, which has seen hundreds of people being evicted.

The alleged land grabbing racket also involves land officers in the metropolitan area, including Kampala, Wakiso, Mukono, and Mpigi districts.

Our sources said the probe was reportedly sanctioned by President Museveni following public outcry over illegal evictions.

“The President is not happy with the ongoing evictions in the city where tycoons are illegally evicting people. Such illegal acts undermine the government and the President wants those tycoons to be investigated thoroughly and dealt with,” the source said.

When asked last week, the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Maj Gen Tumusiime Katsigazi, confirmed that the investigation is ongoing.

However, he declined to name the suspected tycoons, saying the details will be released when the investigation is done.

“It is true we are investigating them [tycoons]. They have been using land officers to take people’s land and this has very many people stranded. We want to get to the bottom of this matter and apprehend all those tycoons and land officers involved because there are so many cases out there of people being displaced and we cannot watch this impunity to continue,” Maj Gen Katsigazi said.

Without offering specifics, he said police have made a breakthrough in their investigations and that the public will get to know the findings when the exercise is completed.
The tycoons, our sources said, allegedly collude with land officers by altering land titles.

According to sources, the common land fraud related crimes are committed in Kampala and Wakiso, adding that there are tycoons who have been involved in illegal land evictions over the years.

Asked about the alleged involvement of senior police officers in the illegal evictions, Maj Gen Katsigazi said any police officer implicated in illegal land eviction will be dealt with according to the law.

He asked police officers to stick to the law when carrying out operations and avoid being ‘used’  by tycoons.

Police officers faulted on law

During an interview with this publication in April, Maj Gen Tumusiime Katsigazi faulted some police officers on failure to enforce the law during land evictions. “What has been killing us is that police officers don’t follow the law and they become the law themselves. Instead of the district police commanders (DPCs) stopping the rich man from carrying out an illegal eviction, they side with him to terrorise the poor. So, it is about disciplinary action. Actually, some court orders are fake; [they are] written by court clerks, not court registrars, and they (court clerks) work with police. But that is part of how we impart discipline in our police officers. That area is too much and our people are crying every day.

But it is a more complex issue because other problems are caused by land offices which create multiple land titles on one plot of land. I am studying the whole thing because it is more complex than just police because some of our political leaders are involved and tend to threaten our officers,” he said.
 

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