By Job Bwire
KAMPALA - The family court in Kampala has ruled that Astride Jelinski, the widow of deceased Ugandan ambassador to Germany Samson Nyine Bitahwa, is not a beneficiary of his estate.
Justice Moses Mukiibi of the family court civil division that sits at Crusaders House on Tuesday cancelled the grant that was given to Jelinski in 2008 after her husband’s death.
Court’s decision sat on the argument that since she is not a resident of Uganda, then she is not entitled to the estate.
Justice Mukiibi explained further that Jelinski’s name was not registered on the title of the estate and therefore cannot be its rightful owner.
“A grant is merely being trusted with responsibilities and not full ownership of the property. Besides, the defendant’s name is not registered on the title deed of the estate,” was his argument.
The case follows a family suit filed by the late envoy’s daughter, Juliana Nyine against her stepmother, Jelinski.
According to Nyine, her step-mother, who lives in Berlin, Germany, had plans to sell off the estate.
Mukiibi advised the plaintiff [Nyine] and the defendant [Jelinski] to settle the matter out of court, saying the case is a waste of court’s time.
“You should meet and agree on who should be the rightful administrator of the estate of the deceased because it seems the defendant does not know her duties and responsibilities as regards the deceased’s estate,” he said.
Nyine, the first-born of Bitahwa’s children, filed the suit through her lawyer Fred Busingye of Messrs Katende Sempebwa & Advocates after realizing that her late father's property had been mishandled by Jelinski.
Nyine who has just come back to Uganda after spending more than two decades in Germany said she was not aware of the fact that Jelinski had hired an administrator, Joseph Okia for the property without her knowledge.
She wants the names of her two siblings, Faridah Nyine Bitahwa and Riandra Kalungi Nyine Bitahwa, who are also beneficiaries, to be entered into the land title.
The property in question includes 18 acres of land in Bushenyi, an estate in Kyadondo, Kampala on Plots 56, 57 and 58, and an NGO with projects in which all three children have shares.
Other property include four known bank accounts in Stanbic Bank and Post Bank in Germany, a Mercedes Benz car that belonged to Nyine.
However, presiding over the case, Justice Mukiibi ruled that the family should come to a consensus – sit down, discuss and reconcile as a family.
Bitahwa served as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Uganda to Germany from 2007 until his death in 2008.
Earlier, he had served as MP for Igara West between 1996 and 2001 and was also a member of the Sessional Committee on Natural Resources then.