Fred Jachan Omach, the former minister of state for finance (General duties) has reacted to allegations that he giveaway Asian property irregularly.
Omach and Aston Kajara (former minister of privatization) were recently accused by the Deported Asians’ Property Custodian Board officials of having irregularly issued letters of repossession of Indian property.
In his letter to parliament, the subcommittee Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) date 23rd July 2019 Omach said the minister of state for finance could hold the portfolio of the minister responsible for finance and therefore signs the prescribed certificate of repossession, certificate of purchase or certificate of receipt as derived from expropriated properties Act 1982 laws of Uganda as long as he indicates he is holding the portfolio.
He stated that the property in dispute; FRV 29 folo 4 of Namwabula Estate is still before the Kampala High Court under civil suit No 80 of 2008.
Omach explained that when it was reported at the time that M/s N. Shah and Co Ltd who were rightful owners of the property did not return in time to repossess the property M/S Mulowoza and Brothers Ltd directors requested to take the property and develop it which was given to them. After a while M/S N. Shah resurfaced to say they had actually repossessed the property which was difficult to cancel the certificate of possession and purchase that was already issued.
In Omach’s letter which leaked to the East African watch, the former minister explained that it is only court which can cancel a repossession certificate once it has been issued.
Omach adds “ Hon chairman, for the case of land opposite the post office on plot 24 Kampala road, formerly known as plot 5A Block C. it is registered in the names of M/S Meera Investments Ltd. The custodian board management then tried to deal with half share in the names of KershavlalPrechand Shah then it was gazetteed on 22 nd September according to gazette No 45 of 2006.
He further explains “However, M/S Meera Investments Ltd sued Custodian Board in its corporate entity when all this happened M/S Meera Investments won the case. Ugandan Business magnate and Sudhir Ruparelia is one of the directors of M/S Meera investments. Sudhir is also the chairman and majority shareholder in the companies of the Ruparelia Group.
The former minister said with the above background to this property it is un fair and a distortion for the Divestiture Committee to allege that he irregularly gave away the Asian property in question.
Omach was responding to a Newvision story which run 17th July 2019, entitled “Ex- ministers cited in irregular give away of Asians Property”. The story followed a presentation of Custodian Board top officials to parliament.
The Executive secretary of the Board George William Bizibu told COSASE then that only the substantive finance minister is allowed to issue letters and certificates of repossession and not state ministers. But Omach said as he was holding the portfolio of the minister of finance he legally issued the certificates.
The board also noted that about 200 properties currently held by Sikh saw Mills and Ginners Ltd are supposed to revert back to Government. It was noted that Sikh Saw Mills failed to fulfill the repossession conditions of 120 day grace period.