Land probe: Ex-MP grilled over Shs88 billion claim for Isimba dam land

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By EPHRAIM KASOZI & JALIRA NAMYALO

KAMPALA. Former Member of Parliament for Ntengyeru County in Kayunga District, Mr Tom Kazibwe, has been quizzed in connection with Shs88 billion compensation claims for his land that was earmarked to pave way for the construction of Isimba dam.

It is alleged that Mr Kazibwe who was paid Shs754 million for the 60 acre-land and crops in 2015 is claiming for additional Shs88 billion in compensation for rock and sand reserves.

Evidence presented before the Justice Catherine Bamugemereire–led Commission indicates that Mr Kazibwe jointly with Entebbe Municipality Town Clerk, Mr Charles Magumba, are claiming for Shs132 billion and that they have since sued government for their pay.

Appearing before the land probe yesterday, Mr Kazibwe was tasked to explain the nature of his interest in the land located at Kiteredde Village in Nazigo Sub County and to justify his claim for the rock which was idle at the time of valuation.

Mr Kazibwe admitted that the Shs88 billion is an additional claim but insisted that the value was a result of a geological survey assessment by energy ministry officials and that it was approved by then government valuer, Mr Moses Magara.

“The problem is using private valuers of Kagga and Partners who are not effectively executing their work. The speed at which they did the valuation was not accurate,” said Mr Kazibwe accusing government officials and valuers of soliciting bribes from project affected persons purporting to facilitate their compensation claims.

Kagga and Partners, an engineering consultancy firm carried out valuations and assessment for the compensation of project affected persons for the Isimba Hydro Power project in Kayunga District.

While blaming his woes to failure of government officials to respond to their claims since 2014 until a court case was filed in 2017, Mr Kazibwe testified that government officials in the energy ministry through agents confiscated claimants’ identifications to demand for 10 percent.

“The consultants did shoddy job because they wanted to get more profits from the contract. They surveyed and valued my property without my consent and participation. The process was done steal-fully and not openly as required by law,” he testified.

Mr Kazibwe appeared before the land probe following a complaint by government through the energy ministry that is seeking for investigation into the Shs500 billion claim for compensation by project affected persons at Isimba and Karuma power projects.

Government officials have since warned that if approved, the Shs500 billion claim would increase the cost of constructing the power dams by 30 percent.

On Monday, Mr Magumba who was quizzed over his Shs44 billion claim for the rock testified that failure of the government to consider his claim for the rock would amount to depriving of his future interest in the land.

In a separate appearance, Eng Peter Magambo, a civil engineer attached to Kagga and Partners was tasked to explain the procedures and laws followed during the valuation and assessment of peoples’ property.

Eng. Magambo testified that scientific assessment of sub surface rock would require a lot of assumptions which are misleading and it would impact on the cost and time of the project because of requirements for an assessment.

“We did not take sub surface into account except where there was active quarry and clear indication of the exposed rock face. We took the scientific approach to get the tonnage,” he testified.

Last week, the chairperson of Project Steering Committee of Karuma and Isimba dams, Eng Badru Kiggundu described the costs as exorbitant saying that the claimants are seeking for additional payments after they were fully compensated in 2014, for their customary interests.

Other claimants
Other claimants including; Disson Nsubuga, Berenado Ssajjabi, John Apoogo, John Wafula, Okuni Owori, Adiliano Okuni, Ali Kagoda, Celina Etapu and Rose Achieng are demanding for Shs203 billion claiming that they discovered rocks.

Sitting at the National Records and Archives Center at Wandegeya, the commission is inquiring into the legal and policy framework on government land acquisitions.

Monitor.co.ug

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