The Parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) set up a select sub-committee in early July to investigate the activities of Departed Asians Property Custodian Board (DAPCB) that the committee says it is filled with mismanagement of funds, misallocation of departed Asian properties, fraud, land grabbing and other irregularities.
DAPCB is a government agency that was put in place to work on the protection of departed Asian’s property, help them in repossession, fulfill their compensation claims and curb land grabbing by some individuals.
The board, chaired by Finance Minister Matia Kasaija, includes Lands Minister Betty Amongi, Attorney General William Byaruhanga, State Minister for Local Government Jenifer Namuyangu, State Minister for Industry and Cooperatives, Michael Werikhe, Gen Salim Saleh who is a “co-opted member, and George William Bizibu as the Executive Secretary.
News reaching our desk shows that the select committee has found out that the Executive Secretary of DAPCB George William Bizibu has been occupying the position without a formal appointment letter.
“Mr Bizibu is in office illegally,” an MP said earlier today.
The committee has gone ahead to task the Finance Minister Matia Kasaija to explain how Bizibu managed to the job without an appointment amid claims that the two gentlemen come from the same area so it is suspected Bizibu might have got the job not on merit.
Since the committee began its investigations, a lot of irregularities have been found in the activities of DAPCB.
Some of these include compensating individuals twice for the same property whereas other compensation claims are still pending.
The board has also failed to account for financial transactions of some properties, as well as money being spent and not recorded into the board’s books of accounts.
The Auditor General’s report for instance, shows that Shs50.2 million was not banked and not a single document supported its accountability at the time of the audit, Shs15.2 million had a cash receipt but was not included on bank statement and over Shs500m was spent directly from the collection account without authority of the Board.
“It was also noted that Shs292.3 million was withdrawn from the bank without explanation as to the nature and purpose of the payments… these actions are not in accordance with best practices in financial management,” the AG report reads in part before suggesting that an inquiry should be instituted to find out how this money was used.
This kind of fraud was fueled by the board’s failure to meet, as reports say that board members can take up to two years without meeting contrary to Section 5 (1) of the Assets of Departed Asians Act that mandates the board to sit at least once every month.
Apart from the 139 properties in Jinja Municipal Council that were valued by unprofessionals, there are properties in prime areas of Kampala that are in the records of DAPCB but fraudulently acquired and subsequently registered in the names of other people.
These include; Plot 20 Parliament Avenue, Plot 3 Market Street, Plots 6, 8, 10 and 12 Namirembe Road, Plot 14 A George Street, and Plot 7 Bombo road.