The commission of inquiry appointed by President Yoweri Museveni to investigate issues relating to land grabbing has directed for a fresh survey to be carried out for a disputed land in Wakiso district.
The directive follows a visit by the seven-person commission led by Lady Justice Catherine Bamugemereire on Monday to Kitiko Birongo, capsule Mutungo Parish in Makindye Sabagabo Municipality where city businessman Guster Lule popularly known as Ntake and architect William Henry Sentogo are embroiled in a land disagreement.
Sentogo is said to have sold 30 acres of land sitting on two adjacent Plots (75 and 83) at Ush 1.5 billion on the shores of Lake Victoria to Lule in 2010.
However, information pills when the new owner got surveyors to open boundaries in order to develop the property, healing he discovered that the land had over 15 ‘encroachers’ on it, some of whom had settled for over 3 years with legitimate titles.
Affected residents claim that when this row emerged, Lule attempted to relocate them settlers to a ‘wetland’ which they opposed.
Some of them told journalists on Monday that Lule’s land which borders with the lake is gradually being encroached on by the rising water levels which is why he keeps adjusting his opposite boundaries.
Last week, information provided to the probe by the Wakiso District Surveyor, Joseph Batume Kizito indicated that Stanley Luwandaga Bemba, a private non registered surveyor hired by Lule to open his boundaries did unprofessional work and produced a shallow report.
His report had neither captured the number of occupants on the land nor did it provide the mapped technical details.
The Commissioners toured the land on Monday afternoon, which is visibly occupied by numerous permanent structures and gardens, to better understand the bone of contention.
However, due to the divergent accounts by the parties involved, they decided to commission a new survey report by professionals.
In his submissions to the commission as it interfaced with the locals, Sentogo said; “He (Lule) wanted me to sell him 35 acres but I instead sold him 30 acres since the 5 acres on Plot 84 had settlers on it. I left this Plot free so as to allow the settlers either get titles or settle there on mutual understanding.”
Lule however pressed Sentogo to clearly stipulate the demarcations of the land he claims to have allocated the settlers as well as that he sold to him, short of which he will demand a refund of the money he paid for the land including interest.
Sentogo insists that the two plots of land (later sold to Lule) had no squatters at the time he bought them. He also accuses a one Stephen Nasasa, a middleman he had entrusted to manage this land of forging his signature and illegally producing titles deeds for the occupants.
“It is difficult to live in a dishonest world. I request the commission that while the new survey is being done, my surveyor be present,” Sentogo said, portraying Lule as being deceitful.
It is in upon this background that both parties agreed that professional undertake a technical study by revisiting the mark stones on the entire land and provide conclusive findings.
Justice Bamugemereire said; “We can’t be able to conclude with our eyes. A team of 4 surveyors led by the District Surveyor and a Professional is going to conduct a joint survey. The survey will come up with correct measurements on the land, include those settling on it and the duration they have been on it.”
“We ask that you (residents) cooperate with the surveyors and once we have their report, the Lule and Sentogo will discuss and agree on your fate,” she said.
She emphatically asked both Lule and Sentogo to get registered surveyors that will represent them in the two day exercise that will be carried out on Tuesday and Wednesday.