General Timwine named in land grabbing scandal

Ministers Gen Elly Tumwine and Peter Lokeris have been implicated in land grabbing and evictions in Kiryandongo District.
The commissioners and police detectives attached to the Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters, on Tuesday received complaints against Security minister Gen Tumwine and State minister for Energy Lokeris, about inappropriate involvement in land acquisitions.
The complainants; Benson Rwegira, James Bariho, Sam Kushaba and Siliman Kaguwe contend that Gen Tumwine fraudulently transferred a land title from their late father’s name John Karegyeya and sold it to Indian investor, Kiryandongo Sugar.
It is alleged that Gen Tumwine obtained the title for the 778 hectares (about 1,922 acres) from Karegyeya who entrusted it to him as a friend but he instead mortgaged it in a bank, that later sold off the land when he failed to pay back the loan.
In a separate complaint, Mr Lokeris is accused of encroaching on Munubi Birowa’s land and intimidating him.
Commissioner Mary Oduka Ochan, who is heading the team, confirmed the complaints and said they are part of the 24 petitions they received in Kiryandongo.
According to Ms Ochan, others implicated in various land transactions are Kibanda South MP Jack Odur (ranches in Nyamarebe), Uganda Land Commission, Ministry of Lands, Ministry of Water and Environment, Uganda Wildlife Authority, district leaders, police officers and other security agencies.
To be summoned
Ms Ochan said the Commission will summon the implicated persons and institutions to defend themselves. “We believe in transparency but this should not be abused. I caution everyone to desist from violence and abuse of the law, maintain peace and status quo because these areas are of interest to the Commission,” Ms Ochan said.
The Kiryandongo District chairman, Mr Charles Ntairehoki, attributed the land disputes in the area to the influx of refugees who have left settlement camps and acquired land in the area. “These refugees leave the camps and the next day they have national Identity Cards. I have tried my level best but it seems I have failed,” he said.
In Tororo, residents accused government officials of conniving with quack investors, land brokers and unscrupulous lawyers to exploit them due to ignorance to sell their land at below-the-market price.
Source: Daily monitor

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