The land at the centre of controversy, situated on plot number 18-24 Grant Road with leasehold Registration Volume 267 Folio 1 originally belonged to some Asian group….
By Nelly Otto
Jinja, Sept. 5, 2022: Details surrounding the land that has been housing the Lions Club of Jinja for years have emerged, indicating the land in question belongs to Jinja City Council (JCC).
It should be recalled that the Jinja City Council sitting on 25 May 2022 endorsed a recommendation by the executive led by Mayor Alton Peter Kasolo Okocha to lease the land in question to a new investor.
The new darling investor in question is called Grand Royale Impex Ltd which wants to develop the facility in line with the covenant set in the title certificate as exclusively a Children’s Park.
The mayor of Southern Division Nasser Ashraf who is said to be the main sponsor of the deal has distanced himself from the deal, saying some officials at the City Hall are the ones fronting the investor.
In Jinja City, such deals do not always come without heavy envelopes among a few shrewd politicians and their technical counterparts who refer to the dimes as “facilitation”.
On learning this, the leadership of the Lions Club petitioned the IGG claiming the Council officials are on the verge of kicking it out of the facility they have used for decades since the late 1960s.
They want the IGG to investigate and order the Jinja City Council against any attempt to evict them or lease out the land to a third party other than the Lions Club.
The information available indicates that Lions Club, a sitting tenant, had applied for the land with the Jinja District Land Board but the bid was rejected because the land belongs to the Council.
As fate would have it, records available also show that the same Lions Club handed over the same land in writing to the Jinja Municipal Council (JMC) on 16 January 1970 in a ceremony witnessed by several stakeholders, which makes their complaint inadmissible.
“…I would like to take this opportunity to thank you on behalf of the members of Lions Club Jinja for having arranged the presence of the deputy mayor at the above-mentioned function…” part of the letter reads.
The letter with reference to Lions Club Children’s Park Handing-Over Ceremony on 16 January 1970 was signed by the Club President Indrakant S Patel and copied to BS Gill, RL Kisaja and Dr GN Khatri as first, second vice presidents and secretary respectively.
The letter dated 22 January 1970 and bearing the official stamp from the council as proof of receipt was addressed to the Town Clerk and part of the issues raised were complaints against some Council enforcement officers who allegedly used abusive language at the Club members.
Under instrument number JJA 00027308, the lease registration title for the land measuring 0.8400 hectares issued on 4 January 2022 puts JCC as the owner with use as open space.
According to a letter, TND News have landed on, the key covenant for surrendering the land was on the condition that the Council then and the future one for eternity would restrict usage solely for children’s park and nothing else.
“…we are instructed to request you to give us an undertaking that the said plots shall be preserved exclusively and perpetually for Lions Children’s Park and that the council shall not, now or in future, lease them to any other person…,” reads in part a 1969 letter.
The letter dated 6 August 1969 signed by Visana, Raichura and Singh was written asking the Jinja Town Clerk to solicit a documentary commitment that this condition would be sustained.
However, a visit to the poorly maintained facility shows that it now hosts a private nursery school called Jumbo Kids Nursery School, deviating from the original purpose and use of the land.
The land at the centre of controversy, situated on plot number 18-24 Grant Road with leasehold Registration Volume 267 Folio 1 originally belonged to some Asian group who exchanged it with the then Jinja Municipal Council (JMC) for the Chairman’s Park.
This comes after the so-called Chairman’s Park, one of the few designated open spaces, was also lazily given away to an investor purportedly to build a five-star hotel.
More than 8 years down the road, there is not even a single brick or truck of sand to the said land which has instead been sold to a third party who is reportedly also scheming on any innocent and unsuspecting investor for another deal.