Court directs UNRA to return businessman’s land titles

Friday April 23 2021

Artistic impression of Kampala-Jinja Expressway at Kinawataka, Kampala. PHOTO | COURTESY

By Amos Ngwomoya

The High Court in Mukono has directed Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) to return all land titles belonging to businessman Muhammad Katimbo.

Mr Katimbo is involved in a dispute with UNRA over compensation for land affected by  Kampala-Jinja Expressway.

The Kikuubo Traders’ Forum chairman had recently petitioned court to block the Kampala-Jinja Expressway project over UNRA’s refusal to handover titles following a botched compensation for land comprised in Kyaggwe Block 118 Plots 18, 23 and 24 Kyungu-Mukono District.

In a Tuesday ruling Justice Elizabeth Kibula Kabanda noted that UNRA had no legal mandate to confiscate Mr Katimbo’s land titles, directing that they be handed over with immediate effect.

In his petition, Mr Katimbo had challenged UNRA’s delay to compensate him for his land on claims that two other people including Mr Eliya Nabbimba and Ms Christine Natyaba had claimed ownership of the land in question.  
The duo had petitioned court claiming to be the rightful administrators of the land in question.

However, on June 15, 2020 court had written to Mr Katimbo’s lawyers, noting that the letters of probate which Ms Natyaba and Mr Nabbimba were holding weren’t authentic.


READ:Businessman asks court to block construction of Kampala-Jinja Expressway

The letter, Mr Katimbo claims, was subsequently presented to UNRA but the roads agency refused to proceed with the compensation until court had disposed of Ms Natyaba and Mr Nabbimba’s case.

This subsequently compelled Mr Katimbo to petition court seeking for the return of his title deeds, citing connivance to frustrate his compensation.

The businessman also accused some UNRA officials of interfering in investigations that had come after Mr Nabbimba and Ms Natyaba were arrested for trespassing on his land.
In her ruling, Justice Kabanda noted that whereas the question of who was the rightful owner of the land wasn’t hers to resolve, there was no satisfactory reason as to why UNRA had confiscated Mr Katimbo’s land titles.

Documents filed before court indicate that Mr Katimbo bought the three plots in question from a one Mr Christopher Musubire in 1994.

UNRA says  
Mr Allan Kyobe, the UNRA media relations, public and corporate affairs manager, yesterday said that whereas they had heard the court ruling they were yet to be served.  “This will not affect our relationship with Project Affected Persons. When court pronounces itself on who owns the land, we will compensate them as such,” he said.