Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Minister of Gender, Betty Amongi has said that she blocked purchase of land in Nakigalala due to variance in costs.
Amongi told the select committee investigating the operations of the National Social Security Fund-NSSF, that the Fund had requested for 400 billion Shillings while the government valuer had estimated the cost at 246.1 billion Shillings.
The land in question measuring 400 hectares is owned by the Muljibhai Madhvani family and is located along the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway. Reports indicate that Madhvani has been trying to sell the tea estate to NSSF for three years now.
According to the minister, she got to know about the land in the NSSF budget for the current financial year 2022/2023, when she was asked to approve a block figure of 400 billion which she declined.
Amongi said she could not approve the purchase after the NSSF management failed to provide her a due diligence report, land title and other documents. The Minister pointed at the former Managing Director, Richard Byarugaba who claimed that the NSSF Board and the Minister of Finance had approved the project, which was not true.
Amongi also revealed that she rejected a proposal from the Board to allocate US Dollars 1 million for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to construct Judiciary court.
“I told them that I will not approve CSR to construct Judiciary house which is already being constructed. I advised them to use that money to boost savings groups of low salary earners. I told them if you want me to approve, go and negotiate for construction of industrial court which hears workers’ cases,” the Minister said.
Aggrey Kibenge, the Ministry of Gender Permanent Secretary also said that the 400 billion Shillings was part of the NSSF budget estimates for the current financial year.
He said that before the budget to the Gender Minister, it had been considered by the Finance Committee, and the board through the Chairman Peter Kimbowa.
The Finance Minister Matia Kasaija said that he last heard about the land in Nakigalala four years ago when Madvani informed them at State House that he had land to sell. According to Kasaija, he then directed NSSF to carry out due diligence.