MBALE, UGANDA: Police in Mbale City together with the State House Anti-Corruption Unit have arrested one Ismail Walujo Mukandadi, the councilor representing workers for allegedly conniving with former officials to sell approximately 52 acres of government land in Nakaloke Town Council.
The spokesperson of the Anti-Corruption Unit, Ms Mariam Natasha Oduka confirmed the report and said that Walujo, a prominent businessman and secretary for works at Mbale City Council was arrested on Friday and immediately transferred to Kampala to answer charges alleged against him.
According to Natasha, the suspect also reportedly grabbed the government-aided Umar and Yumbe Primary School in Mbale City and further bribed education officials not to follow up on the case.
“It is alleged that the school has collapsed because he grabbed the area and set up a washing bay and restaurant. He also allegedly bribed the city education officials to stop following up on the government school. Teachers and resources were not being sent there hence the collapse of the school,” Ms Natasha said on Friday.
“The land was subdivided into various plots with the suspect getting the biggest number of the plots,” she added.
By press time, we couldn’t get a comment from the Principal Education officer of Mbale City, Ms Linus Nasimiyu as she didn’t pick up our repetitive calls.
In 2021, Local Government Minister Raphael Magyezi ordered the cancellation of lease offers on the disputed land belonging to the former Nakaloke Town Council in Northern City Division, Mbale City.
“All lease offers on this land in contention will be halted and technical staff at the district lands office be subjected to forensic investigation,” Magyezi ordered as he also suspended the Mbale District land board.
On the same day, government demanded that all private developers stop any projects on the land.
When the former Mbale Resident City Commissioner (RCC) Ahamada Washaki visited the land last year, there was a verbal exchange between him and the detained Walujo.
Walujo insisted that he legally acquired the land after it was advertised.
“The people accusing me of acquiring the land fraudulently should begin with the Mbale District Land Board. I followed the right procedures in buying that land so I am not a land grabber,” he claimed.
Last year in September, the State House Anti-Corruption Unit arrested seven public servants in Mbale City on allegations of illegally allocating the same land to private developers.
The suspects include Aaron Mulyanyuma, Former Town Clerk Kassim Waboga, Deputy Town Clerk, and the area physical planner Monica Wazemwa.
Others included the physical planning committee members Mary Wambuya and Godfrey Wosheba in addition to land committee members Sarah Khauta and Zebia Edyau.