AG Kiryowa accused of conflict of interest in land case

The Attorney General (AG) Mr Kiryowa Kiwanuka. PHOTO/ DAVID LUBOWA

What you need to know:

  • The AG is accused of giving legal representation through his law firm K&K Advocates, in an appeal petition in which the family members of the late former Buganda King Edward Mutesa, lost possession of one square mile of prime land in Mutungo, Kampala, to businessman Muhammed Kasasa.

The Attorney General (AG), Mr Kiryowa Kiwanuka, is in the spotlight over a land case.

The AG is accused of giving legal representation through his law firm K&K Advocates, in an appeal petition in which the family members of the late former Buganda King Edward Mutesa, lost possession of one square mile of prime land in Mutungo, Kampala, to businessman Muhammed Kasasa.

In a November 29 petition addressed to the registrar of the High Court, Land Division, the lawyers from S.K. Kiiza & Co. Advocates representing Dr Kasasa contend that the appeal matter involves the office of the AG who is party to it and has been hired to represent the opposing party.

The parties in this matter involve the administrators of the estate of Sir Edward Mutesa, Sarah Nalinnya Kagere, Dorothy Nalinnya Nasolo, and Prince David Wasajja, who are the appellants against Dr Kasasa and Mr Kiryowa, who are joint respondents.

“First and foremost, the subject matter involves the office of the AG, who is a party to the pending suit. The current serving AG [Kiryowa Kiwanuka] is a founder and partner at K&K Advocates, which has now taken over the conduct of the matter,”  reads the petition in part.

“We are of the strong view that as much as a party is at liberty to choose a lawyer, K&K Advocates is not a suitable law firm to represent parties who are at the same time suing the government through the AG. Definitely,  Kiryowa Kiwanuka [AG] would be conflicted in this matter,” the petition adds.

When contacted on Thursday last week, Mr Kiryowa briefly said: “Let me find out. I am not familiar with this case.”

When contacted on Friday on whether he had read the case in point, he said he had just reached the office, but promised to find out the facts.

A follow-up WhatsApp message to Mr Kiryowa on Saturday had by press time yesterday, not been responded to by him.

Records that this publication has seen show that on November 18, K&K Advocates took over the representation of the Buganda royals in the land matter.

“Take notice that we K&K formerly Kiwanuka and Karugire, have this 18th day of November 2022, been instructed by the appellants to handle this appeal and all matters related to and incidental to it,” the notice of change of advocates reads.

BACKGROUND

Mid last month, the Court of Appeal in a unanimous judgment upheld the High Court decision that held that the land in question, rightfully belongs to Dr Kasasa.    

Justice Christopher Gashirabake in his lead judgment, indicated: “In light of the above, I do not find any error on the part of the learned trial judge for having held that the appellants’ (royals) conduct mounted to approbation and reprobation.

Their suing to recover land and thereafter filing another suit in which they categorically admitted to having lost the land sought to be recovered in an earlier suit was inconsistent conduct amounting to approbation and reprobation.”

“Finally, save for the decision to reverse the order for full costs in the High Court civil suit 622 of 2003, and setting aside the award of costs in HCMA no. 44 of 20220, the appeal substantially fails and it is hereby dismissed with costs,’’ he added.

The appeal had been filed by the aforementioned administrators of the estate of the late Mutesa but they lost. This was after they were dissatisfied with a High Court decision after Justice John Eudes Keitirima ruled in Dr Kasasa’s favour in 2020.

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