The State House Anti-Corruption Unit in liaison with police in Mbale City has arrested seven public servants for allegedly allocating government land to private developers.
The disputed land that measures about 52 acres reportedly belongs to the former Nakaloke Town Council in Northern City Division.
It hosts, among others, the former town council headquarters, a police station, a health centre, a youth community hall, market, Nakaloke Islamic Primary School, public toilets, and commercial houses.
The State House Anti-Corruption Unit spokesperson, Mr Emmanuel Bunya, confirmed the developments at the weekend.
“We have arrested five suspects for allocating government land to private individuals who are now threatening to demolish existing government structures on the land,” Mr Bunya said.
The suspects include a former town clerk, a deputy town clerk and a physical planner. Others include Members of the Physical Planning Committee, and Members of the Area Land Committee.
Mr Bunya applauded the Mbale Northern City Division leadership and the District Police Commander, Mr John Byamugisha, for their commitment in protecting government land.
Last year, the Minister of Local Government, Mr Raphael Magyezi, ordered the cancellation of lease offers on the disputed land.
The Elgon region police spokesperson, Mr Rogers Taitika, said investigations into the alleged land grabbing have been ongoing since Mr Magyezi’s visit.
“We are hunting more suspects who are still at large. They will appear in the Anti-Corruption Court in Kololo, Kampala, to answer charges,” Mr Taitika said.
When the Mbale Resident City Commissioner, Mr Ahamada Washaki, visited the land last year, he reportedly clashed with one of the alleged developers, Mr Isma Walujo Mukakandi, a businessman, who is also the secretary for Works in Mbale City.
Mr Mukakandi told Daily Monitor that he legally acquired the land after it was advertised.
“The people accusing me of acquiring the land fraudulently should begin with the Mbale District Land Board. I followed the right procedures in buying that land so I am not a land grabber,”Mr Mukakandi said.