LIRA- Government has cancelled several land titles in Hoima District located in the oil-rich Albertine region after in emerged that several residents have been cheated by a notorious businessman who bought their land at give meager prices.
The businessman reportedly paid Shs200,000 per acre but now wants the government to pay him Shs2 billion per acre.
Lands Minister, Ms Betty Amongi confirmed the move saying it was prompted after the discovery of the anomaly.
“Where is government going to get all that money? That is why I have decided to cancelled all the titles in that area so that we start a fresh, Ms Amongi said.
Ms Amongi was speaking at a regional land registration consultative meeting at Lira Hotel on Monday.
Minister Amongi explained the government is proposing to amend Article 26 (2) of 1995 Constitution so that a provision is made for compulsory land acquisition by the State to deliver public infrastructure.
“People have a lot of misconception about the proposed law not only in Lango but countrywide that government wants to grab people’s land. This will happen [land grabbing] after negotiations fail,” she said.
“We want to fight speculators who come and acquire land after on realizing that government project is coming up in a particular area then they demand huge sums in compensation,” she said.
According to the minister, the government is spending about $27 million annually to pay interest on unspent borrowed money for government infrastructure.
“Because of these delays, donors are losing interest in funding projects because the government is seen as having inadequate capacity to absorb funds for delivering vital public goods,” she said.
The proposed amendment states: “Where the parties are unable to agree on the fair and adequate compensation payable under Clause (2) (b) (i), the government shall deposit in court or with any other competent authority, the value of the property as evaluated by chief government valuer and the government shall take possession of the property pending determination by court or competent authority of disputed amount of compensation.”
When the proposed amendment was read, the Shadow minister of Lands, Mr Charles Angiro Gutumoi (FDC), who represents Erute North in Parliament walked out in protest when he was denied a chance to deliberate.