Local municipality responds

Residents in Hilla demand compensation for government-acquired lands

BABIL, January 8 — Dozens of landowners in the Al-Hakania area of Babil staged a protest on Monday in front of the Hilla Municipality building to demand overdue payment in exchange for land the government seized a decade ago.

Municipal authorities had acquired approximately 36 acres of land, divided into residential plots of 200 square meters each. The land was initially purchased by individuals from the State Employees Humanitarian Association.

Residents of the Al-Hakania area, south of Hilla, have previously organized several protests and demonstrations in front of the municipality, urging for financial compensation.

Protester Alaa Abdul Amir:

“We have official documents proving ownership of the land and the purchasing procedures from the State Employees Humanitarian Association, numbered 1/54 in District 11 Hakania.

The Hilla Municipality offered to expropriate the land, which covers an area of 36 acres, for investment in establishing an artisans’ neighborhood. In return, they proposed compensating us at an amount estimated at 24 million dinars for every 200 square meters.

The Hilla Magistrates’ Court issued its decision in 2015 to expropriate the land in favor of the Hilla Municipality, compensating the owners with the agreed-upon financial amounts, totaling 10 billion dinars at that time.”

Protester Hazem Al-Issaoui:

“Our suffering has been ongoing for eight years to obtain our rights, but to no avail. Government departments claim they do not have sufficient funds for compensation.

The municipality previously paid over 1.25 billion dinars as compensation to some of the affected, leading the remaining eligible individuals to file lawsuits with the Integrity Commission.

Landowners are in a state of shock as the Hilla municipality offered to buy the land without ensuring the necessary funds for compensation.”

Ahmed Jaber, Director of Hilla Municipality:

“The municipality has included expropriation issues in its financial budget and, in the 2020 budget, only received seven billion dinars as part of the expropriation amount for Hakania lands.

The amount was transferred to the Hilla Magistrates’ Court as a deposit to be used when transferring ownership of the land to the department, ensuring no manipulation.

There is no specific date for disbursing compensation for Hakania lands unless the Ministry of Finance specifies the amount allowed to be disbursed from the municipality’s financial revenues.”