The newly appointed minister without portfolio of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom, Oscar Baitwa, has been cited in a land grabbing scandal involving over 40 acres in the heart of Masindi town.
The sale of Masindi sports and golf club’s land totalling to over 40 acres to Baitwa, one of the directors of Three Ways Ltd Company by Masindi district land board, has raised queries among Masindi Municipal Council councillors.
Ismail Haruna Irumba, the female youth Councilor Masindi Municipality, says in addition to Masindi sports and golf club land, Masindi Booma ground and green belt which are opposite municipal council head offices have been sold to the same individual something he described as being unfair.
Recently, Masindi municipal council resolved to meet the leadership of the district together with the land board to discuss the issues in a transparent manner.
However, the Masindi municipal Mayor, Joshua Amanyire Kiiza, secretly met the district executive and the land board at district council chambers and stopped other interested parties like the councillors and the media from attending hence creating high chances of not ruling out the possibility of corruption.
The district Chairman, Wilson Isingoma Mugimba, reportedly feared to chair the meeting because he is being implicated for conniving with the district land board to sell the land.
He delegated his vice, Kanaginagi Ateenyi.
Haruna says that though the land belonged to colonialists as far back as in 1914, their lease expired and Masindi municipal council started processing a land lease and made physical planning for it, hence having a stake.
He also argues that, even if district land board was to sell the land, the first priority would have been given to the siting tenant other than giving it to only one person at the expense of all residents of Masindi.
The minister threatens a journalist
We have also learnt that Biatwa called a Radio Kitara journalist, James Komunjara, complaining and threatening the radio for airing the report.
“He called me saying that he will take legal action. When I contacted the station News editor, Goerge Muzoora, he advised me to tell Baitwa to go ahead,” Komunjara said.
Information from corridors of power at Masindi municipal council indicates that, Badru Mugabi, the secretary for finance Masindi district local government on Thursday, a day after the meeting at the district council chambers stormed the office of the town clerk Masindi municipal council trying to disinterest him from the matter claiming that it was political.
“You can imagine, he has been here telling me that the issues are political. I have told him that I am a new civil servant here and I do not know which issue is political and which one is not”, the source quoted the town clerk as saying.
Other sources that preferred to remain undisclosed allege that apart from Baitwa, John Kisembo and Ernest Kiiza, the minister of State for Bunyoro Affairs appears on the title deed of the land in question as trustee members of the Masindi golf and sports club.
The trio had applied to Masindi municipal council physical planning committee to portion the land but their application was declined.
Mayor Amanyire also revealed a document asking for the change of Aston drive to Baitwa road because he knew they would be dividing the land into a plot for themselves.
When contacted, Kiiza denied being a trustee member of the club and does not know the meeting that reached the resolution to put him on board.
Baitwa never received our calls despite the several attempts.