The Ministry of Lands has moved to cancel the land title for 900 acres of Namulonge National Crops Resources Research Institute, which had been given to city property mogul Sudhir Ruparelia for flower growing.
The land is part of the 3,300 acres owned by the National Crops Resources Research Institute, Namulonge, an affiliate of the National Agricultural Research Organisation (Naro). The statement issued by the ministry spokesperson Dennis Obbo, said while President Museveni had directed them to “consider allocating some of the land” to Mr Sudhir’s company Premier Roses Limited, the giveaway was expedited by the Uganda Land Commission (ULC) without involving other stakeholders.
“The allocation to Premier Roses Limited of all the available land at Namulonge field station was in direct contradiction to the directive of the President, which had clearly laid out three beneficiaries of the land,” the ministry said in the statement.
“There were no negotiations with the concerned government institutions as was guided by the responsible minister. There was, therefore, no specific and direct consent to the allocation by either Naro or its parent, the Ministry of Agriculture,” the ministry further states.
The statement mentions that the President had also directed the ministry to consider giving some land at Namulonge to a Mrs Bagalaliwo, for tomato farming and processing, but to ensure adequate land is left for Namulonge institute to continue with its research programmes.
The ministry said President Museveni’s directives were that all the considered allocations should be on lease basis not exceeding 49 years to avoid permanently depriving government of its land.
“The leases were to be accompanied by strict covenants, which would compel the investors to fulfil their part of the agreement, failure of which would lead to the loss of the leases.
Accordingly, the commissioner Land Registration has given notice to Premier Roses of the Registry’s intention to have the title issued over LRV 4542 Folio 4 on Kyadondo Block 158 Plot 651 at Namulonge cancelled,” the ministry said in the statement.
According to media reports, ULC on June 22 this year gave the said land to Sudhir’s Premier Roses on a lease of five years to be extended to 99 years, contrary to the President’s directive.
Mr Obbo said an inter-ministerial committee of the stakeholder government institutions has been set up to re-negotiate the terms and considerations with Naro to enable allocation to the proposed investors.
While defending the Namulonge land deal in Daily Monitor last week, Mr Sudhir said he was given the land by three ministers, including State minister for Agriculture, Lands and minister for Investment, as well as Naro, who gave letters of “no objection” to the venture.
The Naro director general, Dr Ambrose Agona, told this newspaper on Wednesday that they were not involved in the process of allocating the land to Premier Roses. He said all the said land at Namulonge is under use. Naro’s senior management said in a statement that the land alleged to be idle hosts several crop research projects supported by World Bank, Melinda and Gates Foundation and the Japanese government overseas development agency.
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