WHAT EXACTLY IS WRONG WITH THE K’LA LAND BOARD CEO JOB: WHOEVER TAKES IT ENDS UP TROUBLED
Powerful and wealthy Jacqueline Atugonza, who Defacto is the CEO for Kampala District Land Board (KDLB), was last night released on Police bond after spending a night behind bars at Jinja Road Police Station. She was arrested to aid investigations by the ruthless operatives of the Police Land Protection Unit into concerns that the Board she works for recently improperly allocated police land to a private developer without any claim of right. The story of her arrest was exclusively reported by Mulengera News: https://mulengeranews.com/m7-orders-arrest-of-kla-land-board-sec-atugonza-for-leasing-police-land-to-private-kampala-investor/.
Atugonza’s woes have prompted this news website to reflect on the fact that she isn’t the first CEO for the very lucrative KDLB to find herself potentially exiting the office in very disgraceful circumstances. Martha Kyomugisha, her immediate predecessor, found herself running to Court to fight off an inquiry by the IGG that ended into the Inspectorate directing the KCCA ED to interdict her. The interdiction was only vacated after Kyomugisha, an equally very wealthy and aggressive lady in her 30s, run to Court challenging the IGG report. A lawyer herself, Kyomugisha had sued both the IGG and Attorney General. Insisting the impropriety claims whistle blowers reported against her were of great severity, the IGG tried to restart the investigations into her conduct but stalled it after the original complainants lost interest arguing that Kyomugisha, who they accused of all sorts of things, was after all out of the way and not the CEO of the powerful KDLB anymore.
Some potential land owners and leaseholders on Kampala public land, which is under the exclusive jurisdiction of KDLB, had accused her of treating them crudely while disrespecting directives of KDLB Chairman Yusuf Nsibambi that would be requiring her to draft letters for his signature granting them land upon meeting all the statutory lease requirements. In the end, the thick-skinned Kyomugisha (whose wealth is something many of her City Hall peers can only fantasize about) eased out of the conflict, ate a humble pie and resumed her substantive post of being an officer in KCCA’s Revenue Directorate where she continues to serve quietly. She used courts to shield herself from the very bothersome IGG detectives but life was never the same again for Kyomugisha because of the extremely very damaging allegations aggrieved whistle blowers filed against her at IPS Building. In fact, as a very aggressive career woman, she would be very far today if it were not those very constraining IGG processes.
Before her, there was Emmanuel Waligo of the KCCA legal directorate who the then powerful ED Jennifer Musisi deployed to the KDLB on secondment to serve as its CEO. He too was recalled under very acrimonious circumstances after some of the clients showed dissatisfaction with the way business was being conducted. He reverted back to his substantively appointed job in the legal directorate.
Knowledgeable sources say since Musisi became ED and hijacked the role of designating the CEOs from the Lands Ministry, the position hasn’t been easy. “Since the inception of KCCA, the CEO for KDLB has been posted casually without any competitive process. In fact, much as it’s practically a more lucrative position than even the ED financially the speaking, KCCA technical wing has only been assigning one of their staff there but they substantively retain their positions at KCCA. That is why it has always been easy for the ED to take there someone else whenever some negative feedback comes from the clients who use that office. That exactly is how Ag ED Kitaka deployed there his close ally Atugonza who actually remains a legal officer at KCCA,” says a source adding that the current storm engulfing Atugonza could give justification to Kitaka to designate another KCCA officer to take charge.
There are a number of reasons why it’s a financially very lucrative position. The CEO does much of the work supervised by a Board whose members aren’t full time. Theoretically the Board members are only supposed to come around for meetings or to sign some paper work for the case of the Chairman Yusuf Nsibambi. All people who have previously closely related with that KDLB office have become financially powerful and the current KCCA Speaker Abubaker Kawalya is an illustrious example. It’s the office that has the last word on who gets allocated which public land in Kampala under lease terms. They can decide whether to renew your lease or to reenter the land and get you out. They can even find reasons to decide to allocate it to a new a leasee and that is how many generous Indians have become leaseholders to the detriment of native Ugandan applicants for the same. Most of this land under KDLB jurisdiction is located in Kampala’s most prime neighborhoods like Bugolobi, Kololo, Mbuya, Nakasero, Bukoto, Naguru and others.
So lucrative are the KDLB offices that it’s not uncommon to find mere administrative assistants, working under the CEO, possessing vast properties in the upscale Kampala neighborhoods like Bugolobi because it’s not that hard for people in their position to acquire financial means to possess such properties. What happens is that an interested private developer will be prompted on the piece of land whose lease is soon expiring and he then applies for it. People who move files have to naturally be tipped so that everything goes well. This is how people can occupy what theoretically seem to be small positions but when they are very powerful in the pocket. We are talking about large-sized properties worth millions of dollars in the best neighborhoods of Kampala and it’s what the KDLB members sit to allocate every now and then. They must closely work with Uganda Land Commission and the Lands Ministry relevant Commissioner only comes in to register the allocation and ratify whatever the KDLB has come up with.
You don’t have to be corrupt as an employee working under the KDLB to materially lead a very good life. Tips will naturally keep coming in good faith as successful lease applicants are bound to appreciate those that have aided the process without even being prompted. Being lucrative is the reason why people occupying office at KDLB will naturally come under a lot of scrutiny by media, the public, the lawyers, MPs, security agencies and even antagonistic tycoons desiring to fix those they consider adversaries in pursuit of the next best land deal in the Capital Kampala. This excessive scrutiny naturally causes those occupying office as CEO to find their decisions questioned more often than not.
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