The Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, Musa Ecweru has refuted reports that the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) irregularly procured land in Bulambuli district for resettlement of the landslide victims in Bududa.
This follows a report by the Presidential Affairs committee on the status of the resettlement of landslide victims in the Elgon sub-region presented to Parliament last week.
The committee had recommended cancelation of the resettlement in Bulambuli, citing unresolved questions on land ownership.
“The Committee finds it not prudent to spend public funds on infrastructure that is sitting on land characterized by ownership challenges,” the committee noted.
The committee Chairperson noted that their investigations also established that there are still many unresolved complaints by different stakeholders, and observed that government could have lost money in the procurement of three plots of land.
In response, the Minister noted that, “No financial loss was occasioned to the Government and the people of Uganda. The resettlement process has started, targeting 900 households and the first 101 houses will be ready to be handed over to the carefully selected beneficiaries beginning mid February 2019.”
Ecweru noted that the Committee on the other hand acknowledged that the procurement procedures and processes were dully followed.
“The transaction documents presented including the three land titles were acknowledged to be correct and authentic,” Ecweru said.
“The land was procured in accordance with PPDA Act 2003 and extensive due diligence and administrative reviews were done involving PPDA, Solicitor General, MLHUD, URSB, CIID, DPP, District and Community leaders.”
Ecweru thus said that if Parliament considers the recommendation by the committee to reverse the resettlement plan, hundreds of people who were displaced following the landslides risk suffering on top of government losing the money used to acquire the land.
Whereas the report faulted the political leaders within the Office of the Prime Minister and recommended that they be penalized, Minister Ecweru said they acted diligently and that technical Officers acted professionally in executing their work to the conclusion of the assignment and there is value for money.
By press time, Parliament was still debating the committee report and the statement by the Minister after which a decision would be taken.