MPs ask Minister Amongi to resign over land fraud

The problems for Lands minister Betty Amongi are far from over after a section of Members of Parliament started asking for her resignation over land fraud.

Amongi is accused of using her influence as the minister for lands to fraudulently take over a number of properties belonging to Asians.

On Wednesday, legislators led by Aruu county’s Odonga Otto told parliament that it is high time Amongi stepped aside for she has shamed the entire August house.

“This house is in disgrace and I beg to be guided on the direction to take whether to move a censure motion or institute a committee to investigate this matter,” Otto told the floor of parliament on Wednesday.

“Other than owning five properties, the minister has fraudulently acquired 88 properties out of the existing departed Asian properties.”

Buhweju MP Francis Mwijukye said it was unfortunate for the minister to be involved in fraud yet she has been at the forefront of fighting land grabbing.

“You cannot fight land grabbing when you are a land grabber. The minister is bad example to the people she represents as a member of parliament and also the entire Ugandans,”Mwijukye said.

The speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga however said she would get an appropriate time for the house to look through the documents tabled by MP Odonga Otto before a ruling is made over the allegations.

Amongi was recently dragged to the commission by Tosh Hanibal Patel, the grandson of Uganda’s first speaker of parliament Hanibal Patel for using her position to forge a parallel land title on Plot 29, Acacia Avenue, a property owned by the Patel family on top of intimidation and threatening violence.

According to Patel,his family acquired the property in 1968 and when the then president Idi Amin expelled Asians, government took over the property under the Asian property custodians board and his family repossessed it in 1992 but in December2017 they received a letter that the property had been allocated to Amobet investments limited, a company owned by the minister.

On Tuesday Amongi found a hard time after the land commission accused her of using her company, Amobet Investments Limited to fraudulently acquire property owned by the departed Indians using her influence as the lands minister.

The commission accused Amongi through her company of fleecing government huge sums of money because the company pays Shs540,000 per month to government but the same company collects shs 32.4 million ($9000) from the tenant.

When asked about the same, Amongi said herself or the company is not in any way involved in determination of fees charged from the tenants.

“Determination of rent is the work of the executive secretary of the board,” she said.

The commission wondered how a property worth five billion shillings in the leafy parts of the city in Kololo could only pay rent of shs540,000 to government before she was accused of conflict of interest.

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