The Ugandan Parliament has recommended an investigation by the Directorate of Public Prosecution into the alleged fraudulent change of ownership of the Iran-Uganda Hospital located in Naguru, Kampala, which was originally established as a public-private partnership.
The Chairperson of the parliamentary committee on defence and internal affairs, Wilson Kajwengye, presented a report concerning the management and use of land owned by the Uganda Police Force (UPF) in select areas of Kampala.
It was revealed that in 2020, the police discovered that Iran Uganda Hospital Limited had been registered as a private limited liability company on March 15, 2018. Surprisingly, the shareholders were identified as Shahram Pourjahani (98%) and Karimi Afi (2%), a fact unbeknownst to the police.
The State Minister for Housing, Persis Namuganza, expressed her astonishment at the revelation that the Iran-Uganda Hospital was no longer under the control of the police.
The Iran-Uganda Hospital had its origins in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed on April 24, 2010, between the governments of Uganda and Iran. Under this agreement, Iran committed to providing a $1.5 million (sh5.7 billion) grant to the Ugandan government for the establishment of the hospital.
The parliamentary committee has called upon the government to ensure that the aid provided by Iran was used for the intended project and properly documented within three months of adopting their report.
To operationalize the grant, a second MOU on health cooperation was signed between the governments of Uganda and Iran on April 24, 2010. It was agreed that land from the Naguru Police property would be allocated for the hospital’s construction, promoting a public-private partnership for the benefit of Ugandan citizens.
The committee’s inquiry extended to various police-owned properties, including Naguru Police Headquarters land at Naguru and Ntinda, Nsambya Police Barracks, Kibuli Police Station, Kira Road Police Station, Jinja Road Police Station, and the Clock Tower Fire Brigade Unit at Nakivubo.
During their oversight visit, the committee found that the land in Naguru had been occupied by various entities, including UNAFRI, Ugandan Iranian Health Centre, Oscar Industries Ltd, YUASA Investments Ltd, Future Group Co. Ltd, Justice, Law and Order Sector, and the East African Community Monetary Institute.
According to the report, the late Minister of Internal Affairs, Kirunda Kivejinja, in a letter dated February 10, 2011, allocated 16.52 acres of land, comprising Plot 3 Mukabya Road and Plots 2-8 Katalima Road, to UNAFRI.
The committee has recommended that the Uganda Land Commission (ULC) reexamine the land boundaries in dispute between the UPF and UNAFRI to clarify ownership rights.
Additionally, the committee has urged the government to present the Uganda Land Commission Bill to Parliament in order to enhance their operations and financial autonomy, making them more effective.