Judge visits land claimed by Naro and real estate firm

Masaka High Court Judge John Eudes Keitirima (R) before Public Accounts Committee yesterday. PHOTO BY FAISWAL KASIRYE

What you need to know:

  • The land in question involves Urban Utilities Ltd, a real estate company owned by Akright Projects Ltd, which is locking horns with National Agricultural Research Organisation (Naro).

Kampala High Court Land Division judge John Eudes Keitirima last week visited a contested 14-acre piece of land at Bwebajja on Entebbe Road to get first-hand knowledge before he writes his judgment in the near future.

The land in question involves Urban Utilities Ltd, a real estate company owned by Akright Projects Ltd, which is locking horns with National Agricultural Research Organisation (Naro).

Core to Justice Keitirima’s locus visit was a need to hear the testimonies regarding the size of the land in question among other issues.

It’s now standard practice for the judicial officers to visit contested pieces of land—commonly known as visiting locus—before they can deliver their final decision. This is as per the practice direction guidelines issued by former Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki in 2007.

The purpose of visiting locus in quo is to clarify evidence already given in court.

When Justice Keitirima visited the disputed land last week, Mr Anatoli Kamugisha, the proprietor of Akright Projects, showed him the physical possessions on the land (road network, power lines, water and some buildings) that had already been established on the contested land.

Urban Utilities Consultants Ltd in a counter claim is seeking to recover about Shs9b as lost income and value of property lost on account of interference, trespass and frivolous claims by Naro.

Counter arguments

According to court documents, the land in question was allegedly bought by Urban Utilities on September 27, 2011 with the plan of constructing 664 commercial housing units worth Shs167b.

“While the counter claimant (Urban Utilities) had started executing the project, the counter defendant (Naro) trespassed on the suit property with vexatious and frivolous claims and caveated the land and thereby frustrated the progress of the project,” reads in part the court documents.

They add: “The counter claimants’ defendant (Naro) claimed that she had an equitable interest in the suit land, published a caveat emptor to the public in the Monitor newspaper, New Vision newspaper, radio and television. The counter defendant conducted public interviews telling the public not to get involved in the project or purchase any land or property from the counter claimant (Urban Utilities).”

As a result of the said actions by Naro, Urban Utilities claims that immediately all the buyers who had made deposits requested for their refund with interest and cost. It adds that no more customers were coming to them, hence suffering special damages of over Shs9.5b, which they are seeking to recover.

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