The Land Inquiry Commission has grilled a city businessman, Huruna Semakula, for masterminding the grabbing of Nonve forest reserve land in Wakiso district.
Semakula told the Commission that he bribed Wakiso Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Ian Kyeyune with 41 acres of land for his role in helping him to secure title for forest land.
The Justice Bamugemereire Commission spent over three hours questioning Semakula over what appeared like an orchestrated move by him, RDC Kyeyune and the District staff surveyor, Dr. Joseph Batume, to grab over 600 acres of Nonve forest in Buwanuka Parish, Kakiri Sub-county in Wakiso District.
Semakula is claiming over 260 acres of the previously 738 Nonve Forest reserve land.
He claims he bought the disputed forest land at only 3.2 million shillings and then processed titles for it with the help of Ian Kyeyune and Dr. Joseph Batume.
Before being appointed RDC, Kyeyune served as Wakiso District local council chairperson for 10 years.
Semakula testified that he donated to Kyeyune 41 acres from the forest land in appreciation for his role in connecting him to Dr. Joseph Batume. He says he previously donated a Mercedes Benz car to Kyeyune as his friend.
Kyeyune later sold the 41 acres at over 160 million shillings hardly a month after the titles were issued.
Dr. Batume, who doubled as the secretary to the District Land Board, reportedly ensured the titling of the disputed land did not get any obstacle.
Semakula was eventually granted titles from the Ministry of Lands in Entebbe.
Lady Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, the chairperson of the Land Inquiry commission, said the action by Haruna Semakula and his accomplices like Kyeyune and Dr. Batume sparked off the process leading to the depletion of Nonve Forest Reserve.
Source: Uganda Radio Network