By Monica Kobusiinge
Kampala: City businessman Godfrey Nyakana has this morning clashed with officials of the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA), over the Centenary Parkland.
The officials together with members of Parliament’s Physical Infrastructure Committee were touring Clock Tower and Centenary Park to assess the progress of the Kampala Flyover the project.
This was after William Matovu, the Head of Land Acquisition at the roads body informed MPs on Wednesday that one of the challenges that might delay the project is a failure by the authority to secure land at Centenary Park.
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He said the proprietor of Nalongo Estates Limited at Centenary Park, Sarah Kizito and her husband Godfrey Nyakana had refused to vacate the premises to pave way for Construction of Kampala Flyover on grounds that their lease was extended.
UNRA on Wednesday told the committee that M/S Nalongo Estates, a company owned by Kampala businesswoman Sarah Kizito is holding the land for the project pending a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with KCCA.
The Kampala Flyover Construction and Road Upgrading is a 684 billion Shillings project financed through a loan agreement between Uganda and the Japan International Cooperation Agency-JICA.
The committee chaired by Nakifuma county MP Kafeero Sekitoleko was interfacing with officials from UNRA led by the executive director Allen Kagina who had appeared along with the executive director of Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Dorothy Kisaka and other city authority officials.
During the meeting, MPs wanted to establish details of the MoU and asked KCCA officials to explain circumstances surrounding the land ownership and why Nalongo Estates deserves compensation.
The KCCA acting legal director Caleb Mugisha explained that the company had held ownership on a conditional period contract but was entitled to a lease after the expiry of the conditional period in 2016.
He said pending the award of the lease, President Yoweri Museveni had directed that the contractor be allowed access to the land after an MoU had been signed with Nalongo Estates on the portion of the land to be surrendered to the contractor.
Katikamu North MP Abraham Byandala pointed out that there were many instances when individuals on public land were evicted without compensation following the expiry of their leases, he asked KCCA to provide proof of directives from the president to effect compensation for Nalongo Estates.
Similarly, MP Elijah Okupa added that this was irregular since Nalongo Estates had no legal claim over the land after the expiry of the conditional period. He also pointed out that KCCA had failed in its duty to evict the company for breaching the terms of the contract by erecting permanent structures on the land.
However, Mugisha noted that the MoU with Nalongo Estates had been drafted with the legal opinion of the Solicitor General and was awaiting signatures, Mugisha also added that the Solicitor General had noted that the company was entitled to an extension of its lease and inference and it was entitled to compensation by the government for any public occupation of the land.
Mugisha also revealed that the permanent structures erected by Nalongo Estates had never been approved by KCCA which MPs expressed dissatisfaction over why KCCA has never repossessed the land for breach of contract. Mugisha explained that the matter had gone into arbitration as allowed by the contract and the arbitrator had ruled against re-entry by KCCA.
The committee has resolved to meet both the Solicitor General and KCCA after obtaining all documents relating to the land deal and the MoU as well as the directives from the president.
It should also be remembered that Nalongo Estates has previously been at the centre of controversy in 2017 when the company blocked KCCA from accessing the same land to enable the demarcation for the National Water Sewerage and Corporation (NWSC) water installations.