October 19, 2021

Government forensic lab has ‘fake’ land title

LEGEND: Director of Government Analysis Laboratories Kepher Kuchana (right) shows documents to lawmakers as Home Office permanent secretary Steven Kagoda (left) during his appearance before the Public Accounts Committee Parliament on September 21, 2016. Photo by Miriam Namutebi.

Members of the Public Accounts Commission (PAC) said that the Directorate of Government Analysis Laboratories (DGAL) could be in possession of a false land title on which its head office is located on plots 2 to 4 road from Lourdel, Wandegeya.

The case arose during an interface with the Home Office where they presented the original land title certificate issued by the Uganda Land Commission (ULC).

This followed lawmakers forcing home affairs officials and DGAL management to present original copies of the land title after learning that the Auditor General’s report 2013/14 indicated that although the ministry owned various land in different parts of the country, they lacked certificates of title to government land.

Although the permanent secretary of the Home Office, Stephen Kagoda, admitted that they had not yet acquired the land titles for the headquarters of the ministry on plot 75, Jinja road, laboratory of the regional government of Mbale on the route 15-35 Lyadda, laboratory of the regional government of Mbarara on plot 7 Ktunzi road and the regional laboratory of Gulu on plot 4 C princess road, they were able to obtain the land title from the headquarters of the DGAL on plots 2 to 4 Lourdel road, Wandegeya to Kampala.

However, after careful examination of the copies of the land title certificate that had been presented, Masaka Municipality MP Matthias Mpuuga observed that the documents did not contain details of the area of ​​land in possession.

“I think what these people are selling as a land title is a false document because there is no way that a land title does not have the particular size of the land in possession. You are seasoned public servants who should know these things because without the size of the land being documented, surveyors and appraisers cannot do their jobs, ”Mpuuga said.

MPs wondered why the ministry did not decide to rush to process the land title until after the auditor general raised eyebrows on the property and whether those in charge took the time to verify the authenticity of the property. certificate of land title when issued.

As the head of DGAL, Kepher Kuchana Kateu tried to explain to lawmakers now indicted, Kagoda admitted that he did not verify the authenticity of the land title when it was issued.

“We did not falsify the members document, it was given to us like that but as we had been chasing it for a long time, when I received it, I was very excited to think about the verification. I even wrote to the director of the DGAL that the document is very appreciated and that it should therefore be kept in a safe place, but we will contact the commission to help us know if this is an error or if it is a question of authenticity, ”Kagoda pleaded.

MPs led by committee chair Angelline Osege were asked to swear officials to admit that they had presented false documents to Parliament and called for an investigation into the matter when Kateu, in response to a question about the size of the land, said, “I think the land is between 2 and 4 hectares.

Ntugamo Municipality MP Gerald Karuhanga argued that “a serious deception must surround the ownership of the land for an entire manager to say that the land is about 2-4 hectares, which means it is about 10 acres. These people have not done due diligence. in acquiring the land title, I am even skeptical that they are sure that the person who signed the title exists.

The other bone of contention was a photocopy of a document requesting the processing of the land title certificate which stated that the plot of land was 2 and 4 while other documents showed that the plot was 2 to 4 route de Lourdel.

Agago District Representative Judith Akello said that “Plots 2 and 4 mean there are only two plots while plots 2 through 4 mean there is plot 3 in the middle, so the alternation of parcel numbers on various documents means that someone wants to confuse about the existence of parcel 3. “

The headquarters of the DGAL, built in 1927, is currently in a state of disrepair, requiring agent renovation; most of the machinery and equipment is obsolete to achieve sufficient taste while others are broken down; causing a backlog of over 150,000 unsolved criminal cases according to the Auditor General’s report.

Kateu said they need 7.3 billion shillings more than the 1.3 billion shillings currently allocated if they are to clear the backlog of 150,000 cases to speed justice for criminal suspects.

The committee also learned that DGAL had contracted for the construction of the Gulu regional laboratory for an amount of Shs 436 million to start from January 28, 2008 to July 28, 2008, but the building was not completed in 2014 when the auditor general wrote the report.

Kateu explained that “we completed the building in 2016, but it lacks equipment and regents to find the likes due to inadequate government funding, but we are using it as a collection center for regional samples from Gulu. “.

Other facilities interviewed include the Mbarara laboratory whose contract was signed in May 2009 for construction within twenty-six calendar weeks at Shs 522 million but was completed four years later and still without equipment, and the laboratory of Moroto analysis which was carried out in 2014 but still unused. nowadays.

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