NFA boss grilled over illegal occupation and degradation of forests

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The Executive Director of the National Forestry Authority, Michael Mugisa, has been put to task to explain why illegal activities have been happening in forests around the country under his watch.

On Monday, Mugisa was appearing before the commission of inquiry into land matters where he was also grilled over the degradation of 100 hectares of Kajjansi Forest Reserve in Wakiso district.

The land in the forest reserve was reportedly cleared to set up an eco-tourism lodge by a firm called International Camping Sites, which is run by Sedrick Nsongoza-the brother of a prominent Kampala businessman called Ephraim Ntaganda.

The land in question is being contested by Dedasio Kasujja a retired Makerere Lecturer. Kasujja dragged Nsongoza and Ntaganda to the commission accusing them of colluding with senior NFA officials to cut down trees and destroy his beehives without compensating him fully.

However, the commission heard that Kasujja’s license had expired at the time of transferring his interest to Nsongoza.  Kasujja is said to have quietly passed on his interest in the land to Nsongoza without the backing of NFA.

The Commission’s Lead Counsel, Ebert Byenkya spent a considerable time tasking Mugisa to explain why he flouted laid down procedures, when International Camping Sites, is still considering an application for a permit for an eco-tourism lodge.

Mugisa, in his defence, said that there was an investigation being conducted into the actions of International Camping Sites and no licence had been issued to the company yet.

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