‘State House in rent arrears’
- Written by DEO WALUSIMBi
State House does not pay rent for property belonging to the National Housing and Construction Company which it occupies, a parliamentary committee has established.
The property, located on Plot 1, Kyaggwe road in Kampala, houses the Nakasero state lodge. While responding to queries raised in the 2010/11 auditor general’s report last week, Felix Okoboi, the outgoing chief executive officer of National Housing, failed to show Parliament’s committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises a tenancy agreement signed with State House.
Describing State House as a “stubborn tenant”, Okoboi, who has since given notice of intent to resign for “personal reasons”, said the company instead resolved to “withhold dividend due to government amounting to Shs 2.11 billion” to offset the rent arrears from State House and the ministry of Defence.
That response prompted the committee chairman, Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda (Kyadondo East, FDC) , to halt proceedings, saying they needed further explanation on the matter before proceeding with other queries from the auditor general’s report.
“State House is a tenant of National Housing, but they don’t have any arrangement they entered into and National Housing doesn’t collect any fee from them,” Ssemujju said. “It appears that State House does not pay for tenancy. Can you imagine Plot 1 Kyaggwe road being occupied by State House for free?”
Ssemujju said the committee would ask State House “to get some discipline” because the president cannot occupy National Housing property without paying its rent while the same company persecutes other illegal occupants of its property.