Police probe top Departed Asians Property Custodian Board officials over Shs1.6b property scam

Mr George William Bizibu, Executive Secretary of the Departed Asians Property Custodian Board.

The Executive Secretary of the Departed Asians Property Custodian Board (DAPCB) who is also the former Speaker of Kibaale District Council, George William Bizibu, is under investigation over Shs1.6b property involving city investor Margaret Ssekidde of Seroma Ltd.

The joint investigation by both State House Anti Corruption Unit and the Criminal Intelligence Directorate (CID) was sanctioned by President Yoweri Museveni after the investor reported the matter to the head of state.

The CID spokesperson, Charles Twine, without giving the progress of the investigation, said that top Custodian Board bosses including executive secretary Mr Bizibu are being investigated on orders of President Museveni.

A letter written by the Permanent Secretary in the Finance Ministry, Keith Muhakanizi warns against allocation of properties belonging to departed Asians.

In a March 23, 2018 letter to Mr Bizibu, Mr Muhakanizi warns that it is only court that can direct the cancellation of a certificate of title of such property and not the board or its members, some of whom are ministers.

“…where repossession certificate for properties under the DAPCB had been issued, only the relevant courts of law had the authority to cancel such certificates in accordance with the law. It was agreed that the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development and the board must continue to respect the rule of law. Therefore, any orders of court must be complied with,” Mr Muhakanizi’s letter reads in part.

“By copy of this letter, I am duly informing Hon Ministers who are members of the Departed Asians Property custodian Board (DAPCB) and the Clerk to Parliament who has requested information to assist Members of Parliament carry out their legislative and oversight functions in this matter,” the letter adds.

The Departed Asians Properties Custodian Board was formed after the fall of Idi Amin to manage the properties that had been taken away from Asians who had left the country when he expelled them.

The board’s mandate was to enable those Asians who returned to the country to take back possession of their properties and manage those that were not repossessed by the original owners.

The board was originally supposed to wind up and properties of Asians that had not been reclaimed sold off in the mid-90s but this is yet to happen and any new proposed date of winding up has led to massive corruption and a scramble for the properties, many of them in prime locations by public officials.

There have been several incidences of the board cancelling certificates of ownership it has handed to Asian families, a matter which can now only be decided by courts of law.

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