Anti-corruption Unit, Police arrest perpetrators of land evictions in Kiboga District

Lt Col.Edith Nakalema

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Saturday 17th August 2019

Anti-corruption Unit, Police arrest perpetrators of land evictions in Kiboga District

The Uganda Police, together with State House Anti-Corruption Unit, have arrested a number of people implicated in the failed attempt by Government to resettle over 2,500 families that were evicted from Luwunga Forest Reserve in Kiboga District.

The evictees affected are from Kiboga, Kassanda and Kyankwanzi Districts. The failed exercise cost the Government of Uganda Shs.3 billion which was donated by President Yoweri Museveni for purposes of getting land for resettling the evicted people. Another Shs. 1.5 billion was from the National Forestry Authority, which had a target of providing essential facilities, such as schools, to the former residents of Luwunga.

It was established that the residents who were affected by the eviction, had formed Kiboga Twegate Savings and Credit Cooperative Organization (SACCO) with the aim of facilitating the acquisition of land for their resettlement. However, Shs. 1.65 billion out of the Shs.3 billion was paid to Mr. Sam Bitangaro who was supposed to avail land on which the evictees would be resettled in Kassanda District. It was disclosed that a well-known land dealer in Kassanda District, Mr. William Tumwine, facilitated the connection to Mr. Sam Bitangaro.

The Head of State House Anti-Corruption Unit, Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema, who addressed the evictees at Kiboga District headquarters yesterday, thanked them for their patience and tolerance having lost their homes. She said that Government would not tolerate wrongdoers adding that it would arrest all the people involved in the scum.

She commended the leaders in Kiboga District for caring for the people and vowed that those who sold air to Government will all be arrested.

“I thank the Kiboga district leaders for caring for the people. We shall not allow people to suffer. Thank you for being peaceful in spite of the provocations. We shall arrest the wrong people. Those who sold air to Government will be arrested,” she vowed.

During the meeting, she introduced Mr. Abid Alam, a prominent investor in Kassanda District who offered the land victims a portion from the land that he owns in the area. The evictees commended Mr. Alam for his gesture.

Mr. Alam had in the past bought several acres of land from Mr. Sam Bitangaro. However, Mr. Bitangaro is said to have sold the same piece of land to the Luwunga Forest Reserve evictees, a situation that led the wananchi to having land titles without land on the ground.

Kiboga District LC5 Chairman, Israel Iga, revealed that the incident evolved in 2005 and the Government resolved to resettle the evictees. He, however, observed that strangers whose aim was to benefit from the proposed land acquisition had infiltrated Twegate Savings and Credit Cooperative Organization. He revealed that some of the impostors do not even know where Luwunga Forest Reserve is.

As investigations progress, Police has arrested Kozeli Kahinda, Elias Tibikwise and Huzail Ssendagire, Rutazagira and Norbert Tumwine for their alleged involvement in the scum. The Police are at the same time hunting for Sam Bitangaro, John Onyango, Dickson Barugahare, Frank Bekamba and Julius Turyamureeba. Meanwhile, one Erisa Habarulema, has been arrested for not only terrorizing wananchi in Kyakatebe, Kassanda District but also for being actively involved in the Luwunga Forest Reserve conflict

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