Lands PS accused of interfering in court case

Thursday February 25 2021
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Ms Dorcas Okalany, the permanent secretary (PS)

By Ephraim Kasozi

Ms Dorcas Okalany, the permanent secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Lands, has been accused of interfering with a court case in which two Kabarole District Land Board officials are accused of fraudulent conversion of a land title.

In February last year, Mr Peter Alinda, the Kabarole senior land management officer, and Mr Cyprian Rwaheeru, the board chairperson, were charged in Fort Portal Magistrate’s Court for forgery of a land transfer form, fraudulent acquisition of a land title and presenting false documents purporting that they were Kabarole District Land Board minutes of 2016.

 The alleged false documents were intended to facilitate the conversion of a leasehold land title to freehold title in favour of a one Beatrice Nyindombi. 
In the case, the complainant, Mr Juma Hussein, says he is the registered proprietor and the false documents fraudulently deprived him of his land measuring 73.2 hectares in Harugongo in Kabarole District. 

Upon the institution of the case in court, the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) asked the director for land management in the Ministry of Lands, Ms Naome Kabanda, to clarify on the matter.
 On June 29 last year, Ms Kabanda wrote to the DPP stating that the conversion of the land from leasehold to freehold ownership was done based on a contested minute of February 2016 attributed to the land board.

However, police summoned Ms Kabanda to explain why the letter she wrote to the DPP contradicted earlier information provided by the office of the commissioner for land registration. She has not responded to the summons, according to Mr Charles Twine, the police Criminal Investigations Department (CID) spokesperson.
 In defence of Ms Kabanda, Ms Okalany, early this month, wrote to CID stating that the set of minutes certified by the commissioner for land registration, Mr Robert Opio, on the disputed land title, were not the true record of the board decisions and did not match the official copy in the land registry.

 “This, unfortunately created the impression that there were two sets of minutes on the same subject matter in the ministry, whereas not. One was just an extract of the minutes and the other was the officially received copy bearing transactions made by the board for that quarter,” Ms Okalany wrote to CID on February 8.
 However, on February 15, Sanywa, Wabwire and Advocates, who represent the complainant, wrote to Ms Okalany saying her clarification letter to CID amounted to an interference with the land case which is in court.

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 Mr Hussein says Ms Okalany’s letter contained or implied falsehoods about the land issue, which are affecting him as the complainant.
The CID spokesperson, Mr Twine, on Monday said they were studying Ms Okalany’s letter to compare it with the available evidence they already have.
 

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