Govt faces Shs30b claim for family land in Wakiso

Monday December 10 2018

Mr William Byaruhanga,

Attorney General Mr William Byaruhanga. FILE PHOTO 

By EPHRAIM KASOZI

Wakiso. Government is facing a Shs30 billion compensation claim for 183 acres of land in Nakyesanja, Kawanda in Wakiso District following a court case by an Asian family based in Canada.
In the case before the High Court in Kampala, the Esmael family, through its Nakyesanja Holdings Ltd, contends that it owned the land on freehold tenure until the mass expulsion of Asians in the 1970s by the Idi Amin regime.
The family says later the land was expropriated by government and managed by the Departed Asians Property Custodian Board (DAPCB).
The family says the company repossessed the land in 1997.

Held liable
The Attorney General (AG) is jointly sued with 22 others, including the Commissioner for Land Registration, Wakiso District Council, Wakiso District Land Board, the Departed Asians Property Custodian Board and Mbogo Mixed Secondary School.
Some of the sued parties are occupants on the dispute land holding both permanent and semi-permanent properties. The claim against government followed an order in which High Court Judge Damali Lwanga permitted the Asian family to include the AG among the defendants in the case.
The AG being the government’s legal representative is liable for acts or omissions of employees and agents of government departments.
According to particulars of the suit, upon repossession of the land, Nakyesanja Estate Holdings rented it out to various people for farming, but in 2014 they were served with notices that the same land had been allocated to other people.
It is alleged that Wakiso District Land Board issued titles for the land between January and September 2014. Former minister Urban Tibamanya and other parties claimed bibanja (tenancy) interests and challenged the complainant’s title by demanding a police investigation into the land dispute.

Illegality
The suit documents show that in April 2014, the DAPCB asked the Commissioner for Land Registration to cancel entries made in the land register and the complainant’s certificate of title despite the fact that it had been brought to the attention of the Attorney General that allocation of the land had been done in error.
“That the actions of Departed Asians Property Custodian Board in purporting to allocate the plaintiff’s land to the occupants after issuing a certificate of repossession for the same land in 1997 is illegal, null and void,” the court documents state.

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