KAMPALA: Part of the 10 acres of land that was allocated to the Uganda Heart Institute at the Naguru-Nakawa Housing Estate has been occupied by squatters.
The revelation was made by the Executive Director of the Uganda Cancer Institute, Dr. John Omagino, who was showing Members of Parliament on the National Economy Committee of Parliament where they plan to construct a Shs260 billion heart hospital.
The land in question was allocated to the Uganda Heart Institute through a Presidential Directive.
Omagino told MPs that despite the President’s directive and compensation being settled out of court, the original developers of the land, OPEC Prime Properties, are still occupying their land.
“We thought the issue was settled with the recent redistributions of the land, but that was not the case. We have two squatters who we believe are part of the OPEC group who have cordoned off part of the land, “Dr. Omagino said.
According to Dr. Omagino, while the land in question does not affect the groundbreaking of the project, the 1.5 acres that are being occupied by the squatters will later be needed to construct a road.
“The land will not stop our construction. We can now start construction with what we now have, 85 percent of the land. The affected part will have roads, and we can now start constructing. What we need is for the loan to be accepted by the parliament, “he explained.
John Bosco Ikojo, the chairperson of the committee and also the MP for Bukedea, says that they will invite the Uganda Land Commission to look into the matter.
It is estimated that the completion of the hospital will cost Shs267 billion. Once completed, the facility will help save the country US$75 million annually, which is currently spent on referring around 5,000 patients abroad for treatment of various heart complications.
Dr. Omagino says the facility will make it possible for medical professionals to carry out life-saving surgeries at a cheaper cost of 5,000 USD compared to the 20,000 USD currently spent on average by each referred patient abroad.
In addition, they hope the centre will be able to attract patients from neighbouring African countries, which will help develop research capabilities within the region.
The government has so far provided UD$5 million towards the project. The funds have been used to carry out surveying and fencing of the land and pay for the artistic impressions.