Lands committee  detains Jinja town clerk over forest reserve


JINJA- The Commission of Inquiry intoLand Matters has ordered the detention of the Assistant Town Clerk of Kimaka-Mpumudde Division in Jinja Municipality  for allegedly withholding information regarding the acquisition of land in forest reserve.

Mr Abubaker Menya Kirunda who was appearing before the commission at the Civil Service College Uganda in Jinja was accused of obstructing justice.

 The seven member panel  chaired by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire ordered detectives to  detain Mr Kirunda  and record a statement from him regarding to acquisition of the disputed land.

“Do you know that you are withholding information? Why did not you tell us about the speculation that the forest was going to be degazetted. Can you tell us about the speculation?”  Justice Bamugemereire asked.

While handing Mr Kirunda to detectives, Justice Bamugemereire said the assistant town clerk had shown unwillingness to provide the required information which is contempt of the commission.

Evidence before the commission indicates that Mr Kirunda who owns 0.9 hectares is one of the 18 people who were allocated freehold titles on forest land in Kimaka after the land board subdivided it into plots.

Others include Mr Alex Kiwanuka a financial officer in Walukuba- Masese Division, Mr Wilson Kusererwa (Principal land officer at Jinja Ministry Zonal officer), Mr Muzamiru Nabyuma, Mr  Felix Obete, Mr Fauzia Achan and a one Ndegeya.

The commission described the land title holders as participants in the destruction of the forest reserve.

However, Mr Kirunda said  Mpumudde Division made a resolution to the district council to degazette the forest and the district resolved to write to National Forest Authority (NFA).

“If it is discovered that it is forest land, I am ready to lose it. For all the property under me I have submitted to my superiors. The children are not aware of the land but my wife is aware,” Mr Kirunda said

Mr Kirunda admitted that he gave false information that he owned the forest land on customary basis to acquire a freehold title.

He testified that he paid money to buy forms through his friend and businessman, Mr Yahaya Kisaakye who helped him to process the land title but he was reluctant to inspect, locate and survey the land despite concluding all the processes. 

Meanwhile, the commission has directed Mr Kirunda to hand over his land title to the commission for further scrutiny and investigations.

Mr Kirunda becomes the second government official to be detained by the Bamugemereire Commission. Last week the commission Last week, the commission ordered for detention of a senior registrar of titles in the Ministry of Lands, Ms Louella Ataro for allegedly obstructing justice in connection with failure to answer questions regarding her role in the issuance of more than 10 land titles in Kijjabijo wetland in Wakiso District. 

Ms Ataro was accused of telling lies to the commission regarding her actions about fraudulent transactions in land dealings during her tenure at the Wakiso District Ministerial Zonal offices.

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