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Arua City top officials on spot over sale of wetland to private developer

Arua city councilors are up in arms with the city’s entrusted top officials over the alleged giveaway of council land to a private developer without their approval.

The land in question is located along upper Odaa close in Anyafio West Cell, Mvara ward, Central Division in Arua city. It is estimated to be 0.925 acres a section of which is partly covered by swamp.

It was reportedly parceled out to Jamal Osthman, the proprietor of 2ambe Company limited, who comes to be a private developer for unknown development.

A letter authored by Cornelius Jobile the deputy Arua city clerk On August 02, 2022, granted permission to the private developer to survey the said land.

The councilors are accusing Jobile for conniving to give out the council land to the developer without following council authority.

Faida Annet, a member of the natural resources and production committee in Arua city council, says she was shocked when she discovered a letter granting permission to the private developer to survey the land which is in a wetland.

 “I have received a letter indicating the land we have in Anyafio west cell, Mvara Ward, Arua central Division and a private developer is looking for a surveyor to survey that land and yet it is a wetland that was reserved by Arua hill division council,” Faida revealed.

“The bearer of this letter Mr. Osman Jamal is requesting for surveyors to survey a piece of land at Anyafio West Cell, Mvara ward, central division in Arua city. The developer and for surveyor appointed for the purpose should liaise with the office of the physical planner and land supervisor for the exercise,” the letter reads in parts.

Godfrey Anguyo, the councilor representing Ayivu North, explains the process of giving the land under question was not transparent indicating that something fishy is going on.

”Someone in the names of Osthman Jamal requesting for a surveyor means he already owns that land because you cannot request for a surveyor to survey someone’s land, so if that land belongs to the council, how come that Osthman is surveying that land?” Anguyo questioned.

According to Simon Enatu, the male youth councilor, the issuance of a letter granting permission to the private developer to survey the land is a clear indication that the land has already been given to the developer.

“Why have the technocrats failed to open up on the issue despite several engagements with the committees?” Enatu asked.

But when asked to comment on the circumstances surrounding the matter, Cornelius Jobile the deputy Arua city clerk, admitted that he signed the letter, adding that it does not mean sale of land and he does not know the ownership of the land.

Meanwhile, Osthman-the alleged private developer said he is unaware of the land saga.

Although no clear details of how the land became a property of the private developer were established, Wadri Sam Nyakua, the Mayor Arua city, revealed that he has directed the natural resources committee to investigate the matter and will issue a concrete statement after their findings.

Records from Arua city physical planning department indicate that the land was initially planned as an urban open green space since it is located partly in a swampy area.

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