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District Physical Planner Grilled Over Issuance of Titles in Wetlands

Ruth Nakatudde Galabuzi, the Wakiso District Physical Planner has today been grilled by the Land Probe over issuance of land titles in wetlands and central forest reserves within the district.
Ruth Nakatudde Galabuzi, the Wakiso District Physical Planner at the Land Probe.

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Ruth Nakatudde Galabuzi, the Wakiso District Physical Planner has been grilled by the Land Probe over the issuance of land titles in wetlands and central forest reserves. 

The Justice Catherine Bamugemereire led Probe is currently investigating the issuance of 562 land titles in wetlands and central forest reserves in various parts of the country. Part of these illegal land titles was issued in Mugomba and Gunda Central Forest Reserves and Nambigirwa Wetland in Katabi Town Council, Wakiso District.

Information before the probe indicates that the land titles were issued in 2014, with the beneficiaries targeting a number of government projects under which they would demand compensation. The projects include the construction of Mutundwe-Entebbe power line and Namanve-Luzira power line that run through Namanve Central Forest Reserve and Bukasa Wetland and others.

The other projects that beneficiaries are said to have targeted to demand compensation are the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), Bukasa inland Port on the shores of Lake Victoria and the Kampala-Jinja Expressway.

Some of the beneficiaries include Logic Real Estate and Developments owned by businessman Ephraim Ntaganda, his brother Cedric Nsongoza, High Court Judge Joseph Murangira, Emmanuel Gasana, Hood Ssemuga, Barbara Nalubega, Martin Kulaigye, Godfrey Kabogoza and Ismail Kijjambu.

Others with land titles in protected areas are a former minister of State for Economic Monitoring Henry Banyenzaki, who owns Miami Beach in Luzira and businessmen Hassan Basajjabalaba.

Appearing before the Land Probe today, Nakatudde the Wakiso District Physical Planner was tasked by the Land Probe Assistant Lead Counsel Andrew Odiit to explain how titles were issued in specifically Mugoba and Gunda Central Forest Reserves as well as Nambigiwa Wetland.

However, Nakatudde said that there is no evidence at the Wakiso District Headquarters that her office or the Land Registration Office were involved in the titling of the land in question.

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Nakatudde also noted that she carried out a search and could not find evidence of the land titles in question. She said that the plot numbers on the titles could not be found in the register at the Physical Planning Office.

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Nakatudde further informed the Land Probe that her office is usually not informed about issues of titling public land. She said that there is lack of coordination in the land titling process.

Asked about the titling process by Commissioner Robert Ssebunnya, Nakatudde said that the process emanates from the Area Land Committee which sends applications to the Land Office and the process ends with the District Land Board.

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Commissioner Fred Ruhindi noted that there is a need for inter-connectivity so that physical planning committees at the district level are involved before the titling is made.

He, however, said that Section 40 of the Physical Planning Act, 2010 prohibits land titling without the clearance of the district planning committee. Ruhindi put it to Nakatudde that the law has been contravened and nothing has been done.

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Nakatudde put up defense saying that she has several times written to the Chief Administrative Officer on the provisions of the law.

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