§ Mr. Janner
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has as to the number of British citizens who have applied for repossession of properties and assets in Uganda under the Ugandan Expropriated Properties Act 1982; and how many are British citizens of Asian origin.
§ Mr. Whitney
Applications for repossession of property in Uganda and claims for compensation by the Ugandan Government are submitted to the Uganda Government, not to us. Ugandan statistics are compiled on the basis of the country of residence of claimants, not their racial origin.
The Ugandan authorities have advised us that the worldwide total of applications for repossession of property which they have received in 1,696; of which 811 were from persons resident in Britain. They have also advised us that the total of claims for compensation which they have received is in the region of 2,000, of which approximately 1,000 were from persons resident in Britain.
§ Mr. Janner
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has as to the terms of reference of the verification committee set up under the Uganda Expropriated Properties Act 1982; who are its members; how many times the committee has met; and how many applications for repossession have been approved.
§ Mr. Whitney
The terms of reference of the verification committee are set out as follows in regulation 7 of the Uganda Expropriated Properties (Repossession and Disposal) Regulations, 1983 (No. 6 of 1983)The Verification Committee shall advise the Minister (of Finance) on matters relating to the implementation of the provisions of the Act, and, without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, shall,
- (a) examine and verify the authenticity of each application to repossess property or business;
- (b) examine and verify the authenticity of documents accompanying each application form;
- (c) examine and verify the authenticity of claims of any interest of whatever description in property or business for which application to repossess has been made;
- (d) determine whether any property or business for which an application to repossess has been made, is the
322 subject of a caveat, lien, loan, charge, mortgage or any other registered incumbrance in favour of a bank, financial institution or any other lender;
- (e) examine and verify the authenticity of competing claims for repossession of property or business;
- (f) identify and advise whether any property or business for which application has been made to repossess, is property or business in which the Government may wish to participate; and
- (g) generally recommend to the Minister how to deal with any property or business affected by the provisions of the Act."
Mr. Moses Apiliga, the Ugandan Minister of Supplies, is the chairman of the verification committee. The following, as laid down in regulation 5 of The Expropriated Properties (Repossession and Disposal) Regulations 1983, are ex officio members of the Committee:Two non-official members of the committee are: Mr. John Magezi MP, and Mr. Roger Mukasa. Mr. Okumu, the executive secretary of the Departed Asians Custodian Board, is the secretary to the committee.
- the Secretary to the Treasury;
- the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Lands, Minerals and Water Resources;
- the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Commerce;
- the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Internal Affairs;
- the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Local Government;
- the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and
- the Solicitor-General.
We understand that all the members of the committee meet for at least one full working day each week to deal with cases prepared for them by their secretariat. We have been advised by the Ugandan authorities that during the first six weeks of its work after the committee was fully constituted early this year the committee dealt with and finalised several applications for repossession of property and certificates of title were issued during this period to 12 former owners of such property.