By Spy Uganda
The proprietor of Mestil Hotel, Janet Kobusingye, has been grilled over controversial acquisition of Nsambya Railway land.
The Parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) has been investigating how different people acquired huge chunks of land belonging to the Uganda Railway Corporation (URC).
While appearing before COSASE for the second time, on Wednesday, 09 February 2022, Kobusingye said that the 3.6 acre land that she acquired in Nsambya, a prime city suburb, was as a result of the compensation from Uganda Lands Commission (ULC) for her land in Naguru, also an afluent residential area, taken over by government.
When Hon Roland Ndyomugyenyi (Indep. Rukiga County) asked Kobusingye to avail the sales and purchase agreement detailing how she attained the Naguru land, the latter told the committee that all the documents were destroyed in a fire incident.
The committee further probed how the Mestil Hotel owner controversially acquired an additional lease extension of 49 years and later 99 years without payment of any premium for the land in Nsambya.
According to the court order, government was to process a Certificate of Title to Kobusingye for only 10 years at no additional premium and therefore, any additional lease variation was to lead to fresh negotiations between the businesswoman and government.
“The consent judgment is clear; she was given this land for 10 years. Therefore, she was supposed to pay a premium for the additional 39 years and another 50 years because the court did not give her the 49-year and later the 99-year lease extension,” Ndyomugyenyi said.
Hon Yusuf Nsibambi (FDC, Mawokota South County) said that there is no way Kobusingye would acquire a new lease for 49 years and later 99 years without fresh evaluation of the land and premium payment negotiation unless it was agreed upon by ULC.
Kobusingye expressed ignorance on the matter saying ULC would be in a better position to explain premium exemption on the extended leases. She confirms that ULC gave her the lease extensions without any clause on premium payment.
“By the time I left Naguru, I had invested too much money; I had done the plans, concepts and involved all the stakeholders for the architecture, which was all stopped. So I think maybe I was exempted out of pity,” Kobusingye said.
COSASE Chairperson, Hon Joel Ssenyonyi, said it was impossible that Kobusingye was exempted from paying premium due to goodwill because court had clearly ruled that she is compensated with a 10 year lease free of any premium.
Ssenyonyi gave Mestil Hotel owner up to Monday, 14 February 2022 to trace the person who sold Naguru land to her and retrieve copies of the sale and purchase agreement.