An intern is to blame for the issuance of illegal land titles in Nambigirwa wetland near L.Victoria in Entebbe, George Waseni, the principal staff surveyor with the ministry of Works and Transport has told the Land Probe Commission.
Waseni, besides being a civil servant, is also the managing director of Integrated Surveys and Mapping Consultants. He told the Land Probe chaired by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire that Jim Nganda, an intern surveyor, carried out a survey for plots 491 and 492 at Nambigirwa on behalf of one Alex Lwanga.
Waseni told the probe that Nganda took advantage of a loophole at his firm by accessing a survey template from the firm's secretary and surveyed 457 hectares of land. Nganda worked at Waseni's Integrated Surveys and Mapping Consults from 2012 to 2013.
Waseni's response prompted further questions from the Commission's lead counsel Ebert Byenkya who wondered how the company's managing director handed over his job entirely to the secretary. Waseni said that the survey request never went to him, the reason his signature does not appear on the final product.
Byenkya questioned why Waseni never sensed any abnormality in the application to survey the 457 hectares of land and for failing to conduct due diligence to ensure quality control while supervising his interns. Titles to these plots together with others in several central forest reserves have since been cancelled by ministry of Lands.
"If I come to you as a new client and I sit in your office and tell you that I have 457ha of land in Kisubi, as a registered surveyor shouldn’t that raise your eyebrows?", Byenkya asked.
"You would ask yourself questions some questions, how come there is this big piece of land that has never been surveyed at all? And you would know that where is Kisubi located? Off Entebbe road, which means it’s located near L.Victoria."
Waseni disapproved the outcome of the survey saying that it involved a lot of forgeries and that if the file had gone to him, he would have invalidated the work. Justice Bamugemereire declined to believe Waseni's submission that sinister operations at his survey firm were concealed from him.
"You actually directly dealt with Entebbe, your office directly dealt with Entebbe. On issues that could partly have implications on Kampala capital city but you dealt with Entebbe mapping office directly. So you should actually tell us how this happened. And Mr Waseni, am not taking this of yours - ignorant am not taking it and you know it. This Luzira is part of the whole lot and goes all the way to Entebbe one where your own firm is responsible for," said Bamugemereire.
Bamugemereire directed Waseni to record a fresh statement with detectives attached to the Land Probe after he said that he had not carried some of the information he wanted to incorporate in his earlier statement.
"About your statement, you actually say you don’t agree with your statement. For me that is very serious. If you don’t agree with your statement then I have a problem. I don’t know if I have a witness before me or whether I don’t. I want you to go back and sit with my investigations and go through every information that you have and tell us the truth Mr Waseni. The information we have, is that you know these people. They came to you, you know who asked you to do what. You know what you did for them. Give us another statement since you have disowned this one." added Bamugemereire.
"Mr Waseni is our land safe with Ministry of Works that doesn’t check. You don’t check, you don’t care, you complain about not having tools but you actually don’t check your work. Why should I believe that you were not part of this group of people that knew what they were doing to our wetlands and forest. You were very involved that is how you find yourself in the middle of this either as a private surveyor or public surveyor actually issuing out instructions."