Property owners from eastern Uganda have accused the Departed Asians Property Custodian Board, for meddling and bungling up the sale and repossession of their properties.
Five property owners appeared before Parliament’s sub-committee on Commissions, Statutory and State Enterprises (COSASE) that is inquiring into sale and repossession of departed Asians properties, and said they had lost their property, spent large sums of money in court processes for property they had acquired lawfully.
Col. Christopher Achelam told the committee of how the DAPCB issued him a letter clearing his purchase of a house located on Plot 13 Peter Paul Lane, in Mbale district in 2007.
The ownership of the house purchased from Allibhai Mohammed, is now in contention with the Board denying knowledge of Ache lam as the rightful owner.
Faridah Namukwaya, a resident of Mbale, told the committee that she is in fear of losing a house she inherited from her late husband, located on Plot 20 Peter Paul Lane Mbale, which according to the Custodian Board was fraudulently purchased.
The Board Executive Secretary, George William Bizibu explained that his predecessor, Abdul Byakatonda, who issued the said letter, will have to explain the grounds under which he cleared Col Achelam.
“According to the available records of which I am the custodian, this property does not have a certificate of repossession,” he said.
Bizibu said that the house claimed by Namukwaya was leased to three repossessors, one of whom fraudulently sold it to her.
A long serving board member, Mama Joe who is said to have compiled a list of all certificates of repossession between 2005 and 2006 said there is no way they could have missed the property in contention whose certificate dates 2004.
The chairperson of the sub-committee, Ibrahim Kasozi (FDC, Makindye East), faulted the DAPCB for acting irresponsibly and directed Byakatonda to appear before the sub-committee to explain the anomalies.
“I wonder what informed the chairperson to write this letter when the board doesn’t know. Let Byakatonda come to the committee and tell us why he issued this letter” said Kasozi.
The committee directed the board to assist persons who purchased property under their stewardship but are either in court or under pressure to vacate.
“We request the Custodian Board to reign in favorably to third party Ugandans without proper documents for possession, since the law also provides for third party owners,” said Muhammad Nsereko.
The board on the other hand complained of interference from the office of the Attorney General, in their attempt to help property owners with cases relating to repossession of certificates.
Bizibu further asked the committee to consider provision of private lawyers to assist the Custodian Board if they are to help property owners with disputes.