Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, has directed the Minister of Finance Matia Kasaija to obtain an assurance from the Kenyan government on the status of Uganda’s assets.
Kadaga issued the directive on Wednesday during the afternoon parliament session where MPs debated a statement presented by the Minister of State for Planning, David Bahati on the status of Uganda’s properties in Kenya which he said were in the safe custody of the government.
The properties in Kenya under the management of Uganda Property Holdings Limited (UPHL) are valued at 244 billion shillings, 21 years since the company was incorporated. The company owned by the Government of Uganda under the oversight of the Ministry of Finance was incorporated on 3rd November 1998 under the Companies Act Cap 110.
At its incorporation, the 23 properties including 11 warehouses, 1 carport, 2 office blocks, 3 commercial blocks, 4 residential houses and 2 yards were valued at 13.93 billion as per the audited accounts for the year ended 30th June 2001.
The properties are owned on leasehold terms and currently have running leases.
“All the properties in Mombasa are developed, have running leases and also are being rented out of competitive rates in Mombasa. All the properties are titled and UPHL is in custody of the Certificate of Titles. No title is mortgaged and the company has no single loan from any bank,” reads Finance Ministry report to Parliament.
Bahati says that save for 5 properties which are left with 5 to 6 years, all the other properties have more than 20 years left of their lease term. Bahati said that all the properties under the management of UPHL are safe contrary to earlier reports of the country risking losing them.
Not convinced, Speaker Kadaga supported by a section of Members of Parliament expressed concern by provisions in the Kenyan laws that restrict none Kenyans including governments from renewing their leases.
West Budama North MP Richard Okoth Othieno appealed to Speaker Kadaga to reject the report by Finance Ministry saying that the Attorney General needs to come to Parliament with assurance from the Attorney general of Kenya that the properties are safe.
Iganga Municipality MP Peter Mugema reported that there is in-house fighting over properties in Nairobi and that at some point, the Foreign Affairs Ministry wanted to sell one of the building in Nairobi.
Shadow Attorney-General Wilfred Niwagaba cited a need for the country’s properties that bring in money to be managed by a specific company saying that most of the assets in Kenya are being mismanaged contrary to a report given to parliament.
Bahati said that the engagement with Kenyan authorities is welcome and he requested for two weeks to be able to report to parliament.