Uganda: Report claims Bidco's subsidiary benefited from land illegally acquired by govt. agency; includes company's comments
Author: The Observer (Uganda), Published on: 2 August 2019
"New report cites land grabbing in oil palm project"
A new report by Makerere University's Human Rights and Peace Center (HURIPEC) has pinned the National Oil Palm Project for illegal land acquisition in Kalangala and Buvuma districts. The report that was compiled between June 2018 and May 2019, exposes fraud in the purchase of land for the expansion of palm oil project in the two districts. The study analyzed land ownership and transactions related to the National Oil Palm Project in Kalangala and Buvuma. It included a detailed assessment of land ownership, mapping of land contracts, the conditions, compensation, and the application of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) in decision making.
95 per cent of the 180 respondents were Bibanja holders while the remaining were licensees. The findings of the study are expected to feed into the proposed implementation of further land acquisitions in the new ten-year National Oil Palm Project (NOPP). The report also points to gross human rights violations by the Vegetable Oil Development Project (VOPD), land grabbing and irregular payments. "This research found that Uganda Land Commission skipped processes in land acquisition and compensated squatters on public land without first taking the necessary steps. Regarding private mailo land, all rights of bibanja holders (bona fide occupants) and licensees must be recognized, but the Uganda Land Commission created leaseholds in favor of OPUL [Oil Palm Uganda Limited],” reads part of the report...
However, Kyofa Kabuye, the project manager OPUL said that the research wasn’t based on facts since the researchers failed to liaise with the Agriculture ministry and Uganda Land Commission, which handled the land purchases.