State House, government surveyor named in army land grab

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KAMPALA. State House and a senior government surveyor have been named in alleged grabbing of 1.5 square miles (about 1,196 acres) of land belonging to Kaweweta Army Training School in Kinyogoga Sub-County, Ngoma County in Nakaseke District.
The Commandant of Kaweweta Army Barracks, Brig Christopher Kazoora, told the commission of inquiry into land matters that State House issued instructions for surveying of the army land in 2014.

The land that was formerly owned by East Mengo Growers Cooperatives Union comprises an army training school for recruits, political school for junior officers, and the Fort Samora Machel Special Forces School.
“I got communication from State House that surveyors were coming to survey and divide the land to be given to ESB, a Turkish investment firm, under the Free Economic Zone Initiative,” Brig Kazoora said, adding that the 36-square mile land was divided and the army has since remained with only 18 square miles.

Asked to explain the extra 1.5 square mile land created, Brig Kazoora said the survey revealed the land was bigger and the army command took a decision to use it to resettle ex-soldiers.
Brig Kazoora, who did not have any documentation regarding the said army decision, also confirmed he advised the veterans to form NRA Kinyogoga Veterans Association in order to acquire the land for development.

But the evidence before the commission chaired by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire shows that of the 12 members in the association, only three signed the constitution and received part of the land and the rest of the land was shared out among soldiers, district leaders, and politicians in Nakaseke District.

It is alleged that the surveyors led by an acting principal staff surveyor, Mr John Lutaaya, deliberately left out the extra land which has since been allocated through the district land board on freehold basis.
Brig Kazoora denied ever signing an application for the allocation of land describing any document bearing his name as a forgery that should be investigated by the authorities.

“Our intention was to give land to the veterans only and I wish all the land was given to veterans, but I do not know why only three people signed the veterans association documents,” he said.
Reacting to accusations of owning part of the extra army land, Brig Kazoora said: “It is unfortunate but I do not own and have never applied for land. It is not true that land registered in other names is mine.”

Land surveyor bribed by encroachers

In a separate appearance, the acting Nakaseke principal staff surveyor, Mr John Lutaaya, was accused of failing to complete the army land survey which started three years ago.
He was also accused of masterminding a scam to grab the army land by creating a surplus piece which he surveyed and plotted for veterans without instructions from his superiors.

Mr Lutaaya, who also confessed to having received money from the encroachers on the army land, told the commission that the titles earlier issued was subject to cancellation.
Asked why extra land was created, Mr Lutaaya, who gave various and contradicting measurements of the army land, told the commission that he did not get any background information to ascertain its tenure.

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