Court quashes Cosase findings on departed Asians properties

The 10th Parliament in session recently while Rebecca Kadaga was still speaker. PHOTO BY ERIC DOMINIC BUKENYA

What you need to know:

  • The ruling arose after Cosase under the 10th Parliament investigated the activities of the Departed Asians’ Property Custodian Board (DAPCB) .

The High Court in Kampala has quashed a report by Parliament’s committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) involving properties of departed Asians.

In his ruling delivered on Monday, Justice Boniface Wamala, said the decisions arrived at by Cosase were illegal because the matter had already been concluded by courts of law.

The case involved Mr Mohammed Allibhai, the managing director of Tight Security.
Mr Allibhai had represented a section of former owners of the expropriated properties in the repossession process and management of respective expropriated properties, against the Attorney General.

“All in all, this application is allowed with the following declarations and orders; a declaration that the Cosase sub-committee acted ultra vires, and thus illegally, when it investigated properties that were a subject of concluded court decisions or ongoing court processes,” held Justice Wamala.

“The Cosase sub-committee exceeded its mandate and acted without jurisdiction when it purported to investigate properties already dealt with under the Expropriated Properties Act and in respect of which certificates of repossession had long been issued. An order that the applicant (Mr Allibhai) is awarded costs.”

Background

The ruling arose after Cosase under the 10th Parliament investigated the activities of the Departed Asians’ Property Custodian Board (DAPCB) .

On November 6, 2019, the Speaker of Parliament, guided that investigations be carried out in light of findings of two reports by the Auditor General’s office on the operations of the board for February 1, 2011 to March 31, 2016,  April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017, and report back to the House.

Court documents show that Mr Allibhai was one of the people investigated.  This was after he was summoned through a newspaper to appear before the committee on September 11, 2019 to answer queries on one of his properties in Soroti City named as Plot 32 Gweri Road, which property had been a subject of litigation.

Petition
In his petition, Mr Allibhai accused Cosase of acting illegally by investigating properties that had been a subject of either ongoing or concluded court decisions.

He had also wanted court to declare that the decision by Cosase to conduct hearings in Canada where they even called witnesses to testify against him in his absence was in a violation of the principles of natural justice.

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