Gov’t accused of underpricing properties of departed Asians
Legislators on the select sub-committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) are investigating allegations that government sold properties of departed Asians leading to a loss of revenue.
MPs accuse the Departed Asians Property Custodian Board set up by the then National Resistance Council of unlawfully selling properties below the price that government used when redeeming them from financial institutions.
The Custodian Board guidelines provide that for one to purchase properties of departed Asians, he/she must pay a price equal to that met by government at the time of property redemption from banks.
However, Hon Kasozi Ibrahim, the Chairperson of the select sub-committee says they have obtained reports indicating that 84 properties were sold at a cost lower than the reserve price with some not paid up.
Kasozi said that political influence by high ranking officials during allocation, repossession, sale and compensation was responsible for such financial loss.
“As a result of political interference, properties were wrongfully allocated, repossessed and sold; purchase prices were reduced below the reserve prices without proper justification, ” Kasozi added.
Hon Kasozi said that Uganda’s ambassador to China, Hon Crispus Kiyongaallegedly bought plots 54A and 37A at shs 400,000 against the reserve price of shs 2.3 million.
“We feel that all those who paid prices below the reserve price should be made to pay the actual value of the property, because government made losses” says Kasozi
The Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Hon Matia Kasaija who was appearing before the select sub-committee asked to be accorded time to study the status of the 84 land titles redeemed by government saying that purchase prices should have been determined by the government valuer not political influence.
The Executive Secretary of the Custodian Board, William Bizibu however, denied allegations on underpricing of departed Asian properties and stated that the 84 titles redeemed from financial instructions have not been transferred nor repossessed.
This prompted the committee to direct the finance minister to present a revised list of all departed Asian properties at the committee meeting of Tuesday 20 August 2019.
“The list of repossessed properties we have is long; You have to come back to the committee with a revised inventory of the status of the redeemed titles” Hon Muhammad Nsereko (Kampala Central) said.