By Spy Uganda
Isingiro: Lands Minister Judith Nabakooba has directed police and security organs in Isingiro district to investigate fraud and forgeries surrounding Kyarugaju Village land in Isingiro District.
The minister’s directive came after a meeting she convened in the area where locals accuse one Serezio Bihandiiko and Robert Rutebembererwa, the executive director of Birya Untied Agency for fraudulently obtaining the 23.2220hectares of land located on Plot 54 block 13.
Mr Dickson Mukalazi from the Isingiro land office explained to the minister that on June 20, 2016, they received an application in the names of Baligyira John and Bihandiiko Serezio. He said that the district Land Board sat on August 30, 2016, and approved this application subsequently giving the duo a freehold offer on Jan 23, 2017.
He said much as the land title came out in the names of Baligyira John and Bihandiiko Serezio, an issue arose on the ground where one gentleman’s car was burnt and another man had his farm demolished.
Mukalazi says they then opened the land after some locals complained that some of their lands had been taken in the initial surveying. “These people might not know Serezio Bihandiiko because I also don’t know him and have never seen him. The time they registered was when a NIN number was not needed in submitting this application.”
Nabakooba who was in the area on a presidential directive said that entities like the area land committee of the sub-county have to ensure that if someone is buying, transferring land or processing a title, neighbours have to be notified so that boundaries are opened when everyone knows where the process starts from, something that wasn’t done.
“From what I read in the report, not even the neighbours knew what was going on. I also read that while on his sickbed, one of the friends gave the old man (landowner) treatment money and asked him to sign somewhere. I think these are the papers they used to process the application. We want to know how Serezio Bihandiiko made it to the land title yet he was not a resident of the place and Mzee had not given him the permission,” Nabakooba said.
She asked the RDC, LCV Isingiro and the local leaders to prepare for a meeting in two weeks and call Robert Rutabembererwa and Serezio Bihandiiko to come with their documentation as a pre-requisite of starting the cancelling of the land title.
“Police, investigate fraud and forgeries by Rutabembererwa and Bihandiiko because from what I have heard there is too much forgery and fraud. How can a dead person sign letters of consent? Someone who died in 2014 signs in 2016. Let us investigate the process of converting customary land into freehold but even the forgeries around the entire process.
”She tasked the authorities to immediately send the file to court when the findings are made as she would want the matter expeditiously handled. “For the cases that are in court, I am going to write to the principal judge asking him to stand over so that we are given time to do a public hearing and also carry out our investigations. Don’t leave your bibanja in the meantime, continue using your kibanja,” Mr Herbert Muhangi, the RDC Isingiro explained that as the security team, they have been handling this matter to the time of the Minister’s coming.
Muhangi said what Nabakooba has put out as parameters for onward handling of the case is the way to go and he called upon the people to remain calm until the process as guided takes course. “At the end of the process, I hope and trust the solution will be reached amicably. Most of these land cases are long time cases. For example, this case started in 2002. Government should have a process checking members of landlords, sub-county committees when they are forwarding any land matter for title purposes to ensure due diligence is actually looked into.”
Mr Alone Tuhairwe the LCV of Isingiro shared that Nabakooba’s coming in the areas is to send a signal in the various districts around the country to show that there should be no more land grabbing. He affirmed that he will not allow anybody, especially the so-called mafia to grab land in Isingiro for he is ready to fight the mafia in the district.
It should be remembered that last month, Robert Rutabembererwa was in the spotlight after locals in Rwampara under Kitwe-Nyamatete Farmers Co. Ltd pinned him in Nabakooba’s presence for wanting to unrightfully possess ownership of the land that he had since evicted them from after the change of ownership from Kitwe-Nyamatete Farmers Co. Ltd to Birya United Agency Ltd.
Pictorial Of Nabakooba In Isingiro