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PAC questions state house on acquisition of Okello house

State House Controller Lucy Nakyobe Mbonye before Parliament\’s Public Accounts Committee

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |  An official from the State House has said their former landlord at Okello House on plot 10A, Nehru Road, in Nakasero, Alexander Okello lost his property after he was duped by some individuals.

Lucy Nakyobe, the State House Comptroller said this today while appearing before Parliaments Public Accounts Committee (PAC) over audit queries raised by the Auditor General for financial year ending June 30th.

During the interface with PAC, committee chairperson Nandala Mafabi says statehouse bought Okello House, but questioned the manner in which it was bought. Standard Chartered Bank sold Okello’s House at 10 billion shillings to State House in 2019 after he had failed to payoff a loan of 25.5 billion he acquired to purchase Pioneer easy bus.

Nakyobe told the committee that although there was a caveat against selling Okello house, the owner of the property Okello himself approached President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni saying because of the caveat on his house, he was not doing business and was stuck waiting for rent from State House.

Accordingly, Nakyobe says the President asked them to remove the caveat to allow Okello do business, and when Okello needed some money to start up a business, some individuals in town duped him to use his land title and acquire a loan from the bank by giving him only 300,000 US Dollars.

She says the bus business failed after Uganda Revenue Authority followed them up to pay taxes, and also Kampala Capital City Authority couldn’t give them route charts and that’s how the buses were grounded.

She says when they failed to pay for the loan from Standard Chartered Bank, these individuals and Okello couldn’t rescue the title.

Nakyobe says when the bank put up the building for sale, they State House bought it.

Committee chair Nandala Mafabi asked State House if Okello was a good land lord and why State House did not rescue him, but bought his property.

Nakyobe however says that they couldn’t save Okello because Okello himself lifted the caveat on his house. On helping him recover the house, Nakyobe says they have been rescuing Okello several times but this time it was different.

State House and Okello had often bickered over rent with Okello saying Statehouse was not paying his rent. In a June 2015 re­port, the Au­di­tor Gen­eral queried unpaid rent ar­rears to­tal­ing Uganda shillings 1.2 bil­lion, which State House had ac­crued by the time the au­dit, was done.

The landlord and tenant also bickered when Okello wanted to charge rent in dollars.

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