Environment

Bunyoro King Under Fire for Selling Bugoma Forest Land

The Anti Corruption Coalition Uganda (ACCU) is investigating a move by Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom to sell off over 8000 hectares of Bugoma Central Forest Reserve.

Bugoma Central Forest Reserve which is under threat from encroachers is a protected tropical forest that is situated in Hoima District in Buhaguzi County.

The forest is one of the central forest reserves managed by the National Forestry Authority (NFA) which is critical in the mitigation of pollution that is likely to arise as a result of establishment of oil infrastructure particularly the refinery.

ACCU Executive Director, prescription http://clearlakefestival.ca/wp-includes/class-wp-simplepie-file.php Cissy Kagaba told Chimpreports that in March this year, no rx individuals in the names of Dominic Tindimwebwa and Betty Onzima claiming to be working on the instructions of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom were stopped by NFA from harvesting timber in the protected area.

The two had a letter from the King of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom authorizing them to clear the forest land situated in Kyangwaali sub-county and establish a plantation.

Kagaba said that another letter was issued to the individuals by the Prime Minister of the Kingdom emphasizing the position of the king in permitting them to harvest the natural forests but contradicting the king’s directive of establishing a plantation.

The letter rather read in part that the kingdom would determine the activities to be carried out on the cleared forest land.

“Whereas official documents reveal that the kingdom received Sh10m from Dominic Tindimwebwa as payment for harvesting, find unconfirmed sources claim that Sh150m was paid to the Kingdom officials to make the deal happen. A forged letter from the President was used to purportedly authorize the Kingdom to utilize the disputed Central Forest Area,” Kagaba said.

“Another invisible hand linked to Hoima Sugar Works has been cited in this orchestrated forest land take-over. It is alleged that the invisible hand is using the Kingdom to acquire the forest land and about Sh3bn has been lined up to see this process through.”

Kagaba noted that this money is meant to bribe the surrounding communities to move the boundary lines, mobilize people to discredit the current ongoing boundary opening exercise and also act as payment to the Kingdom for the forest.

ACCU is insistent that a Kingdom or the Omukama cannot whether by right or by consent of Government hold any proprietary interest in forest reserves.

“Forest reserves are vested in the Government in accordance with the Constitution, the Land Act and the Forest Reserves (Declaration) Order, 1998.  The disputed land in question is located in the Central Forest Reserve and unless otherwise NFA is the chief custodian of this public resource,” said Kagaba.

“The transaction between the Kingdom and Tindimwebwa Dominic is illegal and unscrupulous individuals within the Kingdom are taking advantage of this situation to participate in inside dealings involving large sums of money.”

 

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