By Ben Musanje
The Chairman Jonam Community Development Pascal Okello has testified before Justice Catherine Bamugemereire’s Land Commission of Inquiry that high ranking army officers have taken the lead in dislodging vulnerable communities off their land without any compensation awarded.
Appearing before the commission this morning, Okello explained that the grabbed land is taken under forceful evictions leaving many locals in West Nile landless.
Okello who declined to mention names of the Uganda Peoples Defence Force (UPDF) officers involved in the forceful evictions insisted that such acts destroy the image of the army in the public.
Meanwhile, the Chief Government Valuer Gilbert Keremundo told Bamugemereire’s commission that his office operates under scattered laws relating to valuation, land acquisition and resettlement.
He said the absence of clear law establishing the office of the Government Chief Valuer has made difficult for the office to make independent decisions.
According to Kermundo, in the 2014/2015 financial year, the office of the Chief government valuer generated over Shillings 100 billion in assessment of land duties. He said all the money it generates goes to the consolidated fund and prayed that part of the money could be used to fund its activities.
The Justice Catherine Bamugemeriere chaired Commission is mandated among other to inquired into land acquisition. It is expected to inquire into a situation where the office of Chief Government Valuer cannot effectively supervise and advise of land acquisition and valuation in the country.