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Investor pins top bosses at Finance Ministry, UIA over shs2b fraud at Namanve Industrial Park

An investor has run to President Museveni for rescue alleging that the officials from the Ministries of Finance and Investment received $500,000 (about sh2b), as a bribe, for the land used for the construction of Kampala Nile Resort Hotel in Namanve Industrial Park.

The investor, who has opted to remain anonymous, alleges that the officials together with some Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) staff, shared the money.

“The hotel investor paid a commission of sh2b to the officials. It is purported that one of the UIA bosses sent his staff to pick the money from the hotel, which is fraud,” the whistleblower purports.

According to the whistleblower, part of the deal was to use the money to refurbish the road that connects to the hotel, but the officials instead directed Lagan DOTT Namanve Limited to stop all the other activities and tarmac the road from their own budget.

However, the hotel owner and UIA staff are at crossroads after another access road to the hotel that had been promised to be constructed by the officials has not been fully refurbished and it is still shambolic.

The second road from Jinja Road to the hotel, according to the whistleblower, was not part of the program. The road is still under contention between the officials and the hotel owner.

The investor also claims that murram is being extracted from the park and sold to the investors at exorbitant prices by the UIA staff.

This reporter visited the park recently and established that there were deep excavation pits with a depth of more than three meters, showing that murram had been extracted.

“UIA officials introduced the hotel investor to one of the persons who got murram from UIA land and sold it to him. The money was later distributed among the UIA staff,” the whistleblower claims.

This is not the first time UIA staff have been implicated for allegedly stealing murram in Namanve Industrial Park.

In 2018, one of the staff was rendered jobless after the Police several times caught him rend-handed illegally extracting sand and murram in Namanve Industrial Park.

Police and the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence detained him for several days and later released him on bond.

These chaotic events have also led to slow progress of road construction in the Kampala Investment Business Park (KIBP).

President Yoweri Museveni has since warned over the construction of offices, hotels, and malls, among others in the park, saying the land is meant for only industries.

The whistleblower also noted that investors at the park, estimated to be 1500 hectares, have many security issues. “Many thieves steal fuel at the park, investors robbed, women raped and there are
no latrines,” the whistleblower observed.

According to the whistleblower, UIA was advised to give land next to Namanve Police post to the Local Defense Personnel (LDU), which it did and the security of the area improved tremendously.

However, in a turn of events, after two years, the land was sold by UIA staffs to another investor for milk processing and the LDU’s were evicted.

The LDUs have since been shifted to a swampy area, where they have erected temporary structures for shelter and fear will be evicted anytime soon.

The whistleblower, however, alleges that the individuals at the centre of the fraudulent transaction are UIA bosses and the former Police boss in charge of security at the park.

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“The Police officer was transferred but still comes to the park where he purportedly collects money from the investors under false pretext. He is now coordinating his activities with the new Officer-in-Charge of the park.”

It is further claimed by the whistleblower that one of the staff at UIA and the former police boss in
charge of the park received a commission of shs 600 million from the investor who wants the land for milk processing.

Following the incident, the LDUs petitioned the President, who did not act on the matter following misleading information from one of the investment ministry’s top bosses.

One of the UIA bosses was suspended from his position for three months in early 2023, over the incident.

During that period the fired official booked a temporary office at Jokas hotel where he used to meet with some businessmen to devise an elaborate plan of grabbing more than 1000 acres of land in the Industrial Park.

The individuals, according to the whistleblower, planned with the National Forestry Authority (NFA) bosses, to cancel genuine titles granted to the investors by the Government, under guise that their land is a forest reserve.

This strategy has a precedent as it was used by the UIA and investment ministry’s officials to frustrate the $70m (sh273b) investment by Dubai Ports World as exposed in the audit of Emmauel EwaKu Allio of Operation Wealth Creation (OWC).

In a letter addressed to Andrew Muyonga Mubiru, seen by this website, NFA still maintains that the plots form part of the central forest reserve and wetland, which investors claim was confusing as there was no credible evidence provided.

Using the letter, Mubiru petitioned the High Court in Mukono district, seeking the cancellation of certificate of titles for 13 investors in Namanve Industrial Park, arguing that they were illegally issued by the Government through the Commissioner Land Registration.

He also faulted NFA for not cancelling the titles.

In rebuttal, the investors argue that Mubiru has no locus to sue them because he does not own property within Namanve Industrial Park.

The case is before Justice David Matovu of Mukono High Court and due for hearing on March 15, 2024.
The Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) in Kibuli has also proved that NFA does not have any documents to prove the existence of a forest in Namanve Forest Reserve and all titles are valid.

This reporter is also aware of the extensive investigation by the Inspector General of Government (IGG), Beti Kamya, and other security organs on UIA. In fact in respect to the hotel and LDU cases, there are criminal record book numbers.

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UIA speaks out

The UIA director for Land development, Hamza Galiwango disputed the whistleblower allegations saying the land in the industrial park is offered free of charge to investors.

“It is not true that there is payment made. The only payment for park service and ground rent charges,” he said.

On the issue of murram, Galiwango said some parts of Namanve are wet and need to be backfilled.

Efforts to get a comment from the State Minister of Finance for Investment and Privatization, Evelyn Anite were futile as she was not picking up calls to her mobile phone number.

The whistleblower however stresses that some of the ministry staff have repeatedly blagged that their boss keeps on telling them that she is part of the first family, Untouchable, and keeps repeating the phrase “Tulina Amagye”.

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