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Fresh Controversy As Birus File Missing At Lands Registry

Baguma Isoke stunned the Lands Inquiry Commission on Wednesday when he said the file for the lease granted to Birus Properties could have been stolen from the registry.
Baguma Isoke after appearing before the Commision of Inquiry Into Land Matters on Wednesday

Audio 2

The Uganda Land Commission is facing fresh questions after the Commission's Chairperson, Baguma Isoke, said the five-year lease granted to Birus Properties has for two years been missing from the Lands registry.

Baguma Isoke stunned the Lands Inquiry Commission on Wednesday when he said the file for the lease granted to Birus Properties could have been stolen from the registry.

//Cue in “My Lord...

Cue Out…Uganda Land Commission.”//

The fact that Isoke had not reported the loss of the file to police raised suspicion among members of the Commission. They suspected it may have been deliberately made to disappear by the Land Commission staff in connivance with Simpson Birungi. 

Birungi is the proprietor of Birus Properties, the company at the centre of controversy over illegal acquisition and later demolition of a government building in Jinja.  

Cabinet had directed Uganda Land Commission to recall the five-year user lease issued to Birus Properties in 2011. Birus Properties used the lease from Uganda Land Commission to claim ownership of of the property on Plot 60/62 Aldina Road in Jinja.

But Isoke says the lease to Birus has not been recalled because no competent authority communicated to his Commission to revoke it.

The Inspectorate of Government then headed by Rapheal Baku directed Ministry of Lands and Uganda Land Commission to cancel the land title to Simpson Birungi over fraud allegations.

The Commissioner for Lands Registration, Sarah Kulata, then cancelled the title following the IGG investigations.

Birungi and his lawyers sued and secured a ruling directing  the Commissioner Land Registration not to cancel the title. Court had ruled that the Commissioner Land Registration did not follow laid down procedure when she cancelled the title.

Kulata later carried out public hearings and cancelled the title for the second time. Baguma Isoke insists that he did not get communication to that effect.

The Lands Inquiry Lead Counsel, Ebert Byenkya said he was not satisfied with Baguma Isoke's explanation as to why his office refused to implement a cabinet directive asking him to take back the property. Baguma insisted that they shall implement what is communicated.

Lady Justice Bamugemereire, who chairs the commission of inquiry into land matters, wondered whether there was someone within the Uganda Land Commission deliberately hiding information regarding the controversial plot of land. 

She later directed the Uganda Land Commission to sort out the mess regarding Plot 60/62 Aldina Road Jinja within two weeks.     

//Cue In “All those should… 

Cue Out… this file Mr Chairman.”//

Bamugemereire then ordered that  her Commission shall find a Case Officer to ensure that Uganda Land Commission takes action on the Birus Properties file and Cabinet directives.