Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A number of staff at Wakiso Ministerial Zonal Land Office and other people whose properties were confiscated by the State House Anti-Corruption Unit are still waiting to get their items, nine months later.
The unit led by Lt Col Edith Nakalema raided the office on December 20, last year during an operation prompted by complaints of corruption against the land officials.
The team confiscated electronic gadgets including phones, laptops, computer hard disks and iPads from the land officers and their clients who had come to process their land titles. They also went away with several documents.
The items were taken as exhibits to aid investigations, many months later documents and property has never been returned.
Derrick Kasumba, a client who was found at the zonal office at the time of the raid said he lost his phone and several other gadgets to the unit personnel.
Kasumba adds that at the time they thought the phones were confiscated to bar them from communicating with those outside at that time.
“Since then, I have tried to regain my phones through all channels, in vain. There is no communication from both the Criminal Investigating Department and the State House anti-corruption unit,” says Kasumba.
Hajji Ssentongo, the Principal Land Management Officer notes that a few days after the raid, officers returned some hard disks and a number of documents but not the other gadgets.
At one time we inquired from police officers who told us that the items were still treated as exhibits,” Hajji Ssentongo said, adding that officers advised them to get alternative phones and SIM cards in the meantime.
Although many staff at the office had their property confiscated and never returned, many fear to comment on the matter. “I gave up on my laptop and phone. I have moved on and bought new ones,” said one of the staff.
Eric Mukulu, a resident of Wakiso wonders why the investigations into the matter have taken long
Sam Mugerwa, a private surveyor and one of those who were arrested from the office recalls gi the raid left them humiliated.
The CIDSpokesperson Charles Twine, says the property is still being held as exhibits which might be needed for the case in court.
Twine, however, argues that if there is any other person whose item was taken and was ever recorded as exhibits, he or she should visit CID offices to be helped out.
In the same development, there are some documents and files of the MZO which are yet to be returned. Asked whether this is not impeding the work of the facility, Hajji Ssentongo noted that if a client comes and his or her transaction is among the taken documents then they have no way to help out. He however, adds that they rarely have such cases.
When our reporter contacted the State House Anti-Corruption, he was told the matter is still investigation by police.