“Persons found to have fraudulently reclaimed properties for which they had already been compensated should not only lose the property but also be prosecuted for misrepresentation, obtain property by false pretence and fraudulent acquisition of property,” the report reads.
some of the properties of the departed Asians
Several properties of departed Asians have been repossessed
despite their full compensation by the Government, the Committee on Commissions
Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) has revealed. The
subcommittee chaired by Ibrahim Kasozi, the Makindye East legislator has been
investigating mismanagement of properties left behind by Asians following their
expulsion by the late former President Idi Amin Dada.
The committee report indicates that some Asians have
reclaimed properties that were fully compensated by the Government, while other
Asians claim that they weren’t paid. During their investigations, the Committee
members found out that some properties that were compensated by the Government
ended up in the hands of unscrupulous individuals who later transferred them to
buyers without notice.
These include among others plot 66 William Street, Plot 6
Princes Drive Bugolobi, Plot 45 Lake Drive Nakawa port bell, Plot 34
Madvhani road Jinja, plot 3 school drive Mbale, Plot 50 High street
Mbarara, Plot 16 B Old Kampala Road, Plot 36 Tufnell drive Kampala, Plot 31
Soroti Avenue in Soroti, and Plot 38-44 school road Arua.
Others are plot 19 Nakasero road, Kampala, Plot 6 Entebbe Road Kampala, plot
68/70 Kira road Kampala and plot 21 school road Tororo among others.
According to the committee report, there is no legal claim on the
properties that were compensated. “A formerly compensated owner who wishes to
repossess the property from the Government could only do so by first refunding
Government the full value of compensation before applying to repossess,” says
the committee report.
According to the committee, the handover report of the Divestiture
Committee of the custodian board of January 2006 further revealed that
compensation was still ongoing as the Government had not fixed a deadline for receiving
applications for the same. As of December 2005, 119 Asians had been compensated
to the tune of Shillings 1.7 billion. The committee also says that all Ugandans
of Asian descent who received compensation through the Indian Government or
United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) have no further claim in
“Persons found to have fraudulently reclaimed properties for which they had
already been compensated should not only lose the property but also be
prosecuted for misrepresentation, obtain property by false pretence and
fraudulent acquisition of property,” the report reads. The committee also found that 1,524 properties were sold off
raising Shillings 15billion. The sales were from 1993 when the Divestiture
Committee commenced the exercise of repossession and sale of expropriated
The committee further noted that although the Board stated that the money
collected from the sales would be utilized for compensation of claims and daily
operation of the board, there was no proper accountability for the funds over
the years. The Committee also noted that the Government of Uganda operated a
bank account No. 80206105 in Barclays bank Isle of Man, United Kingdom (UK)
through which, the expelled elderly Asians were compensated.
The account had a running balance of Shillings 1 billion at the
time, but to date, this amount cannot be traced or accounted for by the board. The
report also indicates that the board failed to collect rent from 1973 to 2000
amounting to Shillings 2.2 billion from properties occupied by Government
agencies. The committee also notes that there is no property register
for the departed Asian property to date.
The committee has recommended
that government expedites the efforts to wind up the Board and compiles a
comprehensive asset register of all properties across the country to help
reconcile records so as to confidently and reliably ascertain all expropriated
properties and the proceeds accrued from sale and disposal thus far. The committee also found out that most properties were
obtained by letter rather than the certificate of repossession.
Up to 47
properties were repossessed by a letter other than a certificate. “Indeed, the
Committee found that a number of agents who repossessed on behalf of their
principals transferred these properties without a required instrument, which by
law is, the certificate of repossession that confers powers to transfer to
former owners,” the committee notes. They cite plot 14 C Martin Road, Kampala
FRV 78 Folio 19 where a letter of repossession was used to transfer the
The fraudsters reportedly processed special certificates of the title they
used to alter the register and consequently transfer titles based on a forgery. Also, the committee noted that the requirement to physically return to Uganda
under section 9 of the Expropriated Properties Act (EPA) was mandatory but some
properties were repossessed and certificates handed over to persons who never
returned to Uganda contrary to the law.
The committee cites the properties
repossessed by Balbinder Singh who reclaimed properties belonging to M/S Sikh
Saw Mills. The committee recommends that all properties that were repossessed
without the physical appearance of the claimants as required by law are
returned to the government. They also want all transfers of ownership that were done
on the basis of letters of repossession revoked and the same regularized by the
acquisition of the repossession certificates.
The committee also recommends that all properties whose repossession were
recalled by Government in the gazette and are currently being rented by the government itself including but not limited to Plot 1 Parliamentary Avenue among
others should be allocated to the Government agencies.