President Museveni has directed that all stakeholders, including a Lebanese investor involved in questionable sale of Makerere University land in Kololo, be investigated.
Ms Grace Akello, the President’s principal private secretary, said they are now investigating Mr Nassour Ramez and some university officials linked to the suspect December 24, 2009 transaction. “The President has directed that the investigation be carried out both on the side of the university and the investor,” she said, “He maintains that he did not issue any directive.”
Mr Ramez, the managing director of Ramezco Company (U) Ltd, who claims he wants to erect a five star-hotel at $17 million (Shs39b), neither answered nor returned our telephone calls to him yesterday.
File on aide
Police already cleared Mr Ramez of any wrongdoing in his acquisition of the land and say they are interested in finding Ms Janice Amayo, the woman who reportedly bought the land from the university at Shs100 million in 2002. The runaway woman allegedly sold the property to the Lebanese businessman in December last year at $3.5 million (Shs8b).
Late Sam Byanagwa, the former university secretary, his counterpart in the legal department Jaynefrances Nabawanuka, now on a sabbatical leave, have been named in signing off the lots on behalf of Makerere.
Ms Nabawanuka, who is presently studying in the US, told detectives on a recent visit here that their purported signatures were forged to endorse a fake transaction. As it turns out, police let her go and are now stuck with investigations since Ms Amayo cannot be traced even by Interpol.
It emerged yesterday that President Museveni has received a confidential briefing on his legal aide, Mr Jeffrey Atwine, who allegedly wrote to Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba, on November 17, directing he surrenders plots 34 and 36 on Prince Charles Drive for hotel business.
“All the issues surrounding the plot of land have been brought to the attention of H.E the President who has since directed that the registered proprietor of the above plot, Mr Ramez Nassour, gets vacant possession of his land,” Mr Atwine wrote. He said his letter was a reminder about Mr Museveni’s earlier September 1 directive.
Mr Atwine signed the letter referenced PO/23 on behalf of PPS Akello, who has since denied authorising it. It is understood President Museveni, who received the findings on Mr Atwine last week, has withheld any decision pending completion of the investigations he has ordered on other parties involved in the deal.
Meanwhile, Makerere University has asked police to establish how Land Registry officials transferred titles for its plots into Ramez’s particulars, just five minutes after granting a lease on the same property to Ms Amayo.
Ms Sarah Basangwa, the acting commissioner for Land Registry, would not answer our telephone calls throughout the past week. Her parent ministry of Lands has kept quiet on the Kololo land saga since this newspaper broke the story a fortnight ago.
Our investigations show that Ms Sharon Tem, the woman who signed as an advocate to endorse Ms Amayo’s purchase of the land, was not one by June, 2002—when the transaction was conducted.
Chief Registrar Flavia Anglin, in a letter referenced A/267 and dated November 24, 2010, wrote that Ms Tem’s name was entered into the Roll as an Advocate of the High Court of Uganda on July 19, 2005.
The Uganda Law Society president, Mr Bruce Kyerere, in an e-mail reply to our enquiry on Thursday, said Ms Tem will be penalised if it is established that she impersonated. He wrote: “The matter of Tem purporting to witness the execution of the document as if she was an advocate would indeed be wrong, if proved true, and she faces disciplinary action.”
Mr Kyerere said the lease agreement appears defective since it lacks the name of the person who drafted it in the first place and also has discrepancies in dates of its signing.
Makerere University, which has since gone to court to keep the land it has owned since July 19, 1962, says the institution’s purported seal affixed on the contested lease document measures 25mm while the original is roughly 30mm in size.